Expansion’s planned for Bridgewater senior center
Changes are on their way for Bridgewater to accommodate the town’s growing senior population.
A 900-square-foot addition is planned for the east side of the senior center, located along Hut Hill Road.
The town’s Board of Selectmen are in the process of choosing an architectural firm for the project.
“We are very excited,” said Marilyn Curtin, the senior center director. “There is such an increased need for more space.”
“We don’t just provide social activities. There are exercise classes, lunches, health forums, programs on balance,” she explained. “We provide support for every senior in the town and our population, like senior populations everywhere, is growing.”
Among the plans are the addition of a railing at the front door to assist seniors in entering the building, a covered, heated entry way at the front door, and adjustments to the stairway in the center of the main entrance hall.
A $25,000 appropriation from the town’s capital fund is to be used for preliminary designs for the addition and to construct the covered entry way, railing and inside stairway adjustment.
A fundraising campaign is expected to help fund construction of the addition.
First Selectman Curtis Read said the planned changes to the senior center are part of a new initiative he will launch soon to help residents “age in place.”
“In the 2010 census, the average age in town was 52,” Read said. “That was five years ago. And census numbers are historically inaccurate. We have about 1,700 people in the town and no new babies are being born.”
“The schools have an issue with declining student population,” he remarked. “We’re all aging and need to provide the services our residents need as they grow older.”
A discussion about meeting housing needs for municipalities’ aging populations was held during a recent Western Connecticut Council of Government meeting, said Read.
Many people want to stay in their towns of residence but need to downsize to manage their living situation,” he noted. An ad hoc group is to be formed in Bridgewater to formulate a plan about the town’s priorities to accommodate seniors needs.
The town’s senior center found its home along Hut Hill Road in 2008. The 3,044-square-foot building has one story and a basement, houses two meeting rooms, one multi-purpose room, a computer lab, a library/lounge, kitchen and terrace.
“We’re in a good place right now,” Curtin said, “with a wonder social worker/municipal agent. But we have a lot of exercise classes and we’re finding more people coming than we have room for.”
“We’re here to help our seniors and we have a great group in our town government who support what we do,” she said. “The addition and changes will be wonderful.”