Town meeting already approved $3 million to build a new senior center; but the center’s location has stirred some conflict.
With the original proposal of Albion Court, raising flooding concerns among neighbors because the area is mostly wetlands, John Rogers from the Building Committee says they were out of options.
“Because of all of the controversy, the Park Commissioners said they’d be willing to turn over that 1.6 acres to be used as the senior center which they might not have even thought about had the controversy not even risen. So as it was, the controversy turned out to be a plus,” says Rogers.
Town Administrator Allan Chiocca explains the work of state leaders was necessary because the acre and a half of land is owned by the Park Department: “You need special permission from the legislature that would allow you to convert that park land into some other municipal use. One of the things the legislature requires, at minimum, is a one for one swap. Rockland had already placed, this year, thirty acres of land into parks and recreation and conservation.”
Rockland’s Town Administrator says the approved land on Plain Street is unused park area.
With the previous site proposal shut down by abutters, the Building Committee plans on meeting with Plain Street abutters before moving forward.
Rockland’s current senior center is crammed into the town’s community center which also houses an elementary school, a daycare program, and a teen center. Rogers says seniors are only left with five parking spaces which was steered people away from coming to the center.
But the brand new center will not only resolve that problem but will feature a hair salon and fitness room.
John Rogers speaking with Rockland Selectmen