Sandwich Council on Aging to Push for New Senior Center

SANDWICH – The Council on Aging plans to rapidly increase its push for a new senior center in Sandwich in the coming months.

The COA says Sandwich Town Hall has lacked support for a new senior center and has pushed the COA board aside. Board members now say they will go out to the town’s neighborhoods to share their stance with residents on a need for a new center.

It all came to a head during an early-December selectmen’s meeting when Select Board Chairman David Simpson announced the town was considering a purchase of the former Santander Bank building, located on Route 6A at the intersection with Tupper Road. Simpson announced the building would be used as an office building for municipal staff.

“Back about 18 months ago when that bank came on the market a number of our board members suggested that it would be an ideal spot for the Council on Aging. Going back to 2003 and 2004, there were plans drawn up, architectural renderings drawn up to build a new Council on Aging in Sandwich. We’re talking about 14 years, and nothing has happened over that 14-year period. It’s been on the Capital Improvement Plan but it’s been way down on the list,” Council on Aging Chairman Neal O’Brien explained.

O’Brien says the current building the COA is in has just 2,600 feet of useable space. He says it will only be a matter of time before the COA will no longer be able to allow participation by all Sandwich senior citizens in events and other gatherings.

“In the past two years we have stepped up our efforts as a board for a new building because we’re working in a building that has about 2,600 feet of usable space,” said O’Brien.

“By 2025 almost 47-percent of the Town of Sandwich will be over the age of 55. What we’ve found is that many of the citizens and taxpayers of Sandwich will have to go to other towns to participate in various activities because we just don’t have the space to do that.”

The COA says it’s frustrated over the lack of support from the town during its 14 year fight for a new building.

“There’s a lot of groups in town that have specific interests around specific projects, and the COA and the senior community of our town is certainly a large group and they deserve to be served as well as any other group in town,” said Select Board Chairman David Simpson, before stating that the Board of Selectmen had never been made aware of the COA’s aspirations for the Santander building.

“The challenge that we have is that all of these projects need to be done with the right timing based on the tax payers’ appetite to pay for these projects. If the COA had a long-term interest in the Santander Bank property it was never expressed to the Board of Selectmen.”

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center

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