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Officials get first look at new Greenfield community center

  • The John Zon Community Center is expected to open March 7. It will also serve as the town’s senior center. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield Senior Center Director Hope Macary, center, talks with City Councilors Timothy Dolan, Precinct 5, and Otis Wheeler, Precinct 7, in the new John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street in Greenfield Friday afternoon. March 2, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • The front desk and entry area in the new John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street in Greenfield Friday afternoon. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • The commercial kitchen in the new John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street in Greenfield Friday afternoon. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield Mayor BillMartin talks with former City Councilor Bill Childs in The Gallery, or large dining room, in the new John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street in Greenfield Friday afternoon. March 2, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • One of the classrooms in the new John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street in Greenfield Friday afternoon. March 2, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • One of the classrooms in the new John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street in Greenfield Friday afternoon. March 2, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • The group fitness area in the new John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street in Greenfield Friday afternoon. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Friday, March 02, 2018

GREENFIELD — As the Council on Aging makes its move over to its new home on Pleasant Street, city officials were on hand to see the new John Zon Community Center.

Several city officials toured the new community/senior center Friday evening, some of which were seeing the inside of what will be the city’s new senior center for the first time. The new senior/community center is expected to open to the public officially March 7, but city officials and residents have been invited to tour the Pleasant Street location this weekend.

“I think it’s the best thing that’s happened to the community in the 69 years I’ve been alive,” Precinct 1 City Councilor Verne Sund said during the open house for city officials Friday.

The new community/senior center, located at 35 Pleasant St., is located near the site of the former Davis Street School, which previously housed the Greenfield School superintendent and required demolition for the community/senior center to move forward.

The building is 9,812 square feet, according to project manager Daniel Pallotta, and features community office space and four program rooms that will allow for a number of activities, including classes, exercise, games, internet-enabled computer access and movies.

The building has several energy-efficient features, Pallotta noted, such as LED lighting, large open windows and an energy recovery system that can recycle heating and air conditioning.

Pallotta said that the building also has several aspects that can assist those with disabilities. Such features include acoustic ceiling clouds that reduce reverberation and automatic doors.

According to Hope Macary, director for the Council on Aging, she believes that the new community/senior center could increase the amount of seniors enrolled at the center by 50 percent from its previous location.

The project was not without issues, though. According to Jean Wall, chairwoman for the city’s building committee for the center, the Davis Street School became an issue, as its demolition had be absorbed into the project’s budget in order to continue “because without it gone, it wasn’t going to happen.”

The demolition happened, though, and the project is still expected to remain under budget, Wall noted.

There was also a concern over the name of the center, specifically it being named a community center instead of a senior center, according to At-Large City Councilor Penny Ricketts.

“Some seniors were upset over the name,” Ricketts said. “But it wouldn’t pass City Council if not called a community center.”

The name change stuck though, and city council approved it.

And according to Macary, the name reflects what the center will provide for the community and for seniors.

According to Mayor William Martin, the project has been ongoing since 2014 and has been in discussion for at least the last 20 years.

However, Martin said previously that it was both ahead of schedule and was expected to be under budget when it is officially completed. City Council appropriated $4.2 million for the project in April 2016.

According to Martin, the project became a definitive one for the city to see completed, especially considering how its namesake petitioned for its creation over the last two-plus decades.

Zon, who died in 2012 at the age of 89, was civically engaged for many years, Macary said, including activities on several different city commissions and boards, as well as regular visits to city hall.

She also called him a good will ambassador who many residents could recognize as he went for his daily walks about the city, as well as his 43 years of employment at Greenfield Tap and Die.

“Everyone from old town Greenfield knew him and loved him,” she said.

However, Macary remarked most on Zon’s passion for baseball.

He gave baseball-style nicknames to everyone and umpired little league baseball games in the city. He was also a Boston Red Sox fan and was “over the moon” when they won the World Series in 2013, she said.

Residents are invited to tour the facility today, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., before Council on Aging programming starts at the facility March 7.

Reach Dan Desrochers at:

ddesrochers@recorder.com

(413)772-0261 ext. 257