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Letter: Senior center issues

I am writing to express my extreme frustration regarding the recent discovery of dangerous contaminants found in the South County Senior Center in South Deerfield. I have been a resident of Deerfield for over seventy years and I am now a Meals on Wheels driver based out of this location. As a former member of the Deerfield Council on Aging, I am well aware of the history of problems in this building.

For years, Directors, SHINE Counselors, exercise teachers and participants suffered while trying to work in the lower level of the building. Several years ago, it became so hazardous that all of these individuals eventually refused to spend time downstairs. Moving all programs to the main floor created a huge space problem, as this became the only floor used. The director currently works in a claustrophobic office with a drafty window, the mealsite manager has no office, and the program assistant sits at a desk in the dining room. The exercise classes must meet at another location and the podiatrist can no longer hold his services in the building.

Our town has devoted time, energy and great expense to provide for new police vehicles and new highway and fire departments. In contrast, proposals for a new location for the senior center are always dismissed. I do not see how the board of oversight or selectmen have done much to advocate for the seniors of our towns. The problems with this building have been known to the selectmen in Deerfield, Whately, and Sunderland for decades. The senior center is just one of several issues that has been overlooked for years. We have no senior housing, no senior center van and a desperate need for a new senior center. It’s time to stop sweeping the needs of seniors under the carpet.

DONALD and FRANCES MORO

South Deerfield

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