Over 50 Scituate seniors packed the cramped Selectmen’s chambers Tuesday night and rallied behind using the town owned Pier 44 building as the main use for a senior center.
Betty Johnson requested that the seniors be permitted to use the building, now known as the Harbor Community Building, Monday through Friday from 8 to 4 for senior activities.
However, Selectman John Danehey says while seniors can apply to use the building for certain programs, it is illegal to use it for a senior center.
“The M.B.T.A., who let us use those funds pursuant to the mitigation of the train to buy this beautiful site, says you have to have a primary use that fits within the restrictions of being either outdoor, open space or educational use. You’re not an outdoor or open space use. You might fall into educational use. If we can do an accessory or minor use to help your programming out for a short term, that would be great”, Danehey explained.
An online survey of 1,000 residents showed that the majority want the property used for open space and recreation.
But seniors, who represent a whopping 36% of Scituate’s population say they missed that survey, since most don’t have computers.
Senior resident Jane Trettis summed up her feelings on the lack of town support for a senior center and said, “The people of Scituate will spend money on ball fields and schools. Of all the surrounding towns, we have the least services as far as seniors go. You know, apparently a lot of yuppies have moved into town and want to beautify the town and they get their football fields and soccer fields. But it’s about time the seniors were appreciated!”
Selectmen say they will look at alternatives such as using the Gates Middle School as a senior center.