LTE: Reading Center for Active Living

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Dear Select Board:

I am sorry I missed the SB meeting (10/26) and the discussion regarding the Reading Center for Active Living proposal. I was a community member of the UMass-Boston Gerontology Assessment conducted by the town regarding the future needs of Reading seniors. I am well aware of the results. I was also in attendance for the 1/22/19 Select Board presentation by Emmett Schmarsow, a 44 year expert and program manager with the State Elder Affairs Office. I understood that he was specifically invited by the Town Manager’s office and Jane Burns, Director of the Senior Center.

He specifically and empathically stated that multi-generational centers do not work with seniors. I am curious will the SB and the proposed ad hoc committee be disregarding this previous consult? Does the SB have newer information from another expert on elder affairs that counters this opinion?

Reading has limited financial resources, and many needs and wants.

As seniors, my husband and I are fully aware that the value of our home is contingent on a strong public school system. We prefer to have our property tax be used to address the needs of the Killiam School than to pursue a Community Center for Active Living. Our children, now ages 29 and 27, attended Killiam and it needed an upgrade then. We shudder to imagine the condition of the school now. The Killiam school was built in 1966. Educational needs supersede an active living center.

We thought the Reading YMCA and the Reading Public Library were the community centers for the Reading residents. The pitch for funding for the library made that a key selling point.

It seems prudent to get creative, explore the expansion of programs at these current facilities in addition to the current Pleasant Street Senior Center to address the needs of our aging population.

Nancy Docktor
Pearl Street

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