New Milford senior center receives funding for expansion
NEW MILFORD — The senior center will soon have more space to accommodate its popular programs, including meal service.
This week, Town Council approved spending $450,000 from the Waste Management Fund to supplement a $498,000 state grant the town received two years ago for the expansion at the Richmond Center, where the senior center is based.
The project will double the size of the meeting room, add handicap-accessible bathrooms and improve general accessibility.
Mayor David Gronbach said the work is expected to start later this month or in early August and should last four months.
Because of space limitations, senior center staff members have had to cap programs at 60 participants or hold events at other places in town, such as Trinity Lutheran Church.
Lundgren said the aging commission has discussed what to do with the senior center for two to three years. She said she would eventually like to see the center move to a one-level space, but the renovations will help in the meantime.
“This is the best of both worlds,” Lundgren said. “This isn’t the end-all solution.”
The Richmond Center was built as a school in 1912 but was re-purposed as town office space in the 1980s. Besides the senior center, it houses town offices and Loaves & Fishes, a nonprofit organization that operates a soup kitchen. Lundgren said the seniors will have more space, however, once social services moves to the former John Pettibone School.
Lundgren said the $498,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant secured by former Mayor Patricia Murphy wasn’t enough to cover the renovations needed for the senior center.
“Once the bids started coming in, it confirmed $500,000 was not enough to extend that building,”
Most bids came in around $1 million, according to the discussion at Monday’s council meeting.
Plans presented to the Zoning Commission last year showed the expansion would add about 1,500 square feet to the recreation room by expanding onto the grassy area behind the building. The parking spaces would be reconfigured for 93 parking spaces, three more than at present. The expansion would use the same brick and architecture styles as the existing building.
The plans were designed by Hamden-based Silver/ Petrucelli & Associates.
During the council meeting, Councilwoman Katy Francis said the expansion was needed to accommodate the growing senior population in town.