To the Editor:

Why wouldn't we want to keep seniors in Sherman so they can continue to enjoy their lives, friendships and support systems in the town they love?

Why has the question been clouded by the possible unit amenities or the notion of a non binding alternative for open space?

Is our elitism and ageism on display, where we ignore the less vital, needier and more disenfranchised among us, even when there's something we can do about it?

The time has come to support Sherman's seniors with a `yes' vote to the land-lease question on the Saturday, June 14 referendum in Sherman.

Sherman is one of the last towns in Connecticut with no affordable or supportive senior housing, yet seniors (aged 62 and older) comprise nearly 25 percent of Sherman's population.

Sherman's rich spirit of history and volunteerism relies heavily on our seniors and, simply put, we continually lose them to other towns when `the house' becomes too much to take care of.

The land-lease approval, or site control, is needed before grants and other funding can be applied for. The identified land parcel exceeds all possible alternatives that were exhaustively researched over the past several years, and it tested extremely well with percolation and deep tests.

Based on identified need, there is already a waiting list for proposed one- and two-bedroom units such as these in Sherman.

For those with concerns about not having restrictions to Sherman residents, experience from other towns shows an average of 80 percent of affordable senior housing residents move there from within the same town.

The rest are primarily related to residents as a parent or sibling, especially depending on the vibrancy of the town.

Without a town center, sidewalks, more employment, entertainment, shopping, public transportation and public services like doctors, lawyers, a pharmacy, a pub or a gas station, many seniors would probably not move to Sherman without a personal connection.

The lease of the under-utilized municipal land to the Sherman Housing Trust is a winning proposition for the town of Sherman, our residents, and those who will be living there.

Better still, it would neither be financed nor managed by the town, so there would be no drain on taxpayers or town resources.

I hope the unfortunate NIMBY attitude toward affordable senior apartments in Sherman is representative of only a vocal minority, but you must vote, and vote `yes' on Saturday to have your voice be heard.

The advisory question on the referendum is irrelevant and should be ignored; the parcel of land in question does not meet the specifications to qualify as "open space."

Kate McConaghy