Marion residents: Accept the VFW property
To the Editor:
We are writing in support of the Town of Marion’s acceptance of the VFW property. This article will be voted on at Town Meeting on Oct. 24. We extend our gratitude to the Benjamin D. Cushing Post for all their service to our country and to the Town of Marion in the past, and we regret that they have had to disband their organization. We appreciate both their generosity in making this gift to the town and also their realization of the importance of having a senior/community center for the citizens of Marion.
As representatives of both the Council on Aging and of The Friends of Marion COA, we are keenly aware of the need for a facility where older adults can socialize over meals, participate in exercise activities and enjoy programs and lectures. A trial center began operation last August and currently serves over 100 persons a week at the Music Hall. But we need a permanent location of our own:
The population over 60 in Marion is currently over 30 percent and is projected to rise to 40 percent in the next 10 years
The Music Hall is used by many organizations – there are no offices for the COA there and no room for storage
The parking, lack of adequate kitchen facilities, second floor restrooms and space allocation is a limiting factor on the ability to serve the larger community
We have been exploring what it might mean to share a center with the Recreation Department to serve the youth after school hours and at night when the older adults are not likely to use the space. We think it makes sense to consider a center that could be shared by the whole community.
We realize that there are many potential uses for the VFW property and they need to be considered before any final plans are brought to the town for consideration, but we urge the voters to accept this very generous donation of property so that we may move ahead with deliberations for how best to use it. We also think that the VFW’s expressed wish that the property be used for a senior/community center be honored.
Joanne Mahoney, chair for the Board of the Council on Aging
Priscilla Ditchfield, Christina Bascom, co-presidents of the Board of the Friends of Marion COA