Recorder – Senior Center lease extended as search for permanent accommodation continues in South Deerfield
Published: 05/18/2022 16:09:55
Modified: 05/18/2022 16:08:09
SOUTH DEERFIELD — With a lease extension through December, the South County Senior Center will spend at least the rest of the year at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church.
The lease extension will be in effect while Deerfield prepares to undertake renovations to South Deerfield Congregational Church, which will be used for a temporary long-term location for the seniors’ center while a permanent building is explored.
The center for the elderly found a temporary winter home in the Holy Family Catholic Church St John Paul II Pope Center in November as the towns of Deerfield, Sunderland and Whately sought to relocate the elderly to inside, from their old outer tent, during the cold. weather months. The lease, under which the Senior Center pays $1,000 a month, was due to expire on June 30 but has been extended to December 31, according to Deerfield Town Administrator Kayce Warren.
The plan, according to Trevor McDaniel, a member of the Senior Center Board of Oversight and chairman of the Deerfield Selectboard, is to house seniors in Holy Family Roman Catholic Church until the end of the lease, while beginning interior renovations to the building. South Deerfield Congregational Church in the fall. . Deerfield residents earmarked $150,000 for church renovations at the special town hall meeting in October.
“It’s not a ton of work, but it’s just enough to have space,” he said, “while we figure out what we can build.”
Renovations include creating accessible bathrooms, minor modifications to the kitchen, creating an office for senior center staff and the public health nurse, and mini-splits for heating and building air conditioning. McDaniel estimated that the renovations could be completed by the end of the lease in December.
The city is also working on feasibility studies and architectural plans for the Senior Center building next to the Congregational Church. If the city can find a financially viable way, it would renovate the building into a multi-purpose city hall with the seniors’ center on top. The Senior Center building on North Main Street was closed to the public due to the pandemic in 2020 and never reopened because an environmental assessment last year found asbestos, mold and lead paint . Senior Center staff members still use offices on the first floor, and a COVID-19 testing site began operating there in March.
“We’re looking for all these ideas and places where we can do something and find funding,” McDaniel said. “I think the process is moving forward, it’s just slow.”
In the meantime, South County senior center director Jennifer Remillard said a tent will be assembled on the senior center’s lawn by the end of May to provide additional outdoor programming. The tent will be used on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church space will continue to be used on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The Senior Center has added birding activities and additional exercise programs, and has scheduled the annual picnic for June 15, to be held in the tent from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the theme of the garden party.
For updates on South County Senior Center programming, visit the center’s Facebook page, sign up for the monthly newsletter by emailing [email protected], or visit the church Roman Catholic Holy Family, at 29 Sugarloaf St., on Mondays. , Wednesday or Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Chris Larabee can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4081.