Letter: Save the Portsmouth Senior Center

Please support local news coverage –

Donate Here

Posted 2/8/21

To the editor:

During the Jan. 25 Portsmouth Town Council meeting, Town Administrator Richard Rainer reported on the senior center. He stated there is a two-step process that involves: 1) Securing …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Letter: Save the Portsmouth Senior Center

Please support local news coverage –

Donate Here

Posted

To the editor:

During the Jan. 25 Portsmouth Town Council meeting, Town Administrator Richard Rainer reported on the senior center. He stated there is a two-step process that involves: 1) Securing a permanent replacement as the current location, Anne Hutchinson School, is no longer authorized for use as of next summer, and; 2) Finding intermediate location until permanent home is found for the senior center. Mr. Rainer stated there has been discussions for a partnership with Church Community Housing (CCH). These discussions included CCH would at no cost to the town build a new center with a longterm lease. 

What Mr. Rainer left out of his report, it appears, pursuant to a statement dated Aug. 25, 2020 from Sen. Seveney and Rep. Cortvriend, they have had discussions with CCH and CCH’s main objective is to build affordable housing and CCH would be responsible for getting the tenants and manage all operations. No mention of a senior center, but pursuant to this statement, when asked CCH stated they can include a community room as part of any housing development. This is a far cry from a senior center or securing a permanent home for the senior center. 

What has been left out of these discussions is Sen. (Helen) Mathieu, who chairs the senior center’s board, has conducted extensive research to establish it is more cost effective to renovate the current location, rather than tear-down, re-build or find another location. A modest investment from the town to renovate the current location is more affordable; will allow the seniors to stay at their current location and preserves a town building that has historical significance. 

Mr. Rainer reported further over the next few weeks he would be reaching out to people who have a stake or ties to the senior center to form a working committee to address all concerns of the viability of the senior center. It seems this committee should have been formed prior to any discussions with CCH or any other organizations. Such discussions should include renovating the current location to bring it up to code allowing the senior center to stay in place and continue to provide the much needed services to the senior community. Furthermore, members of the board for the senior center should have been included in all such discussions.

After the meeting, calls were made to the Town Clerk’s Office by individuals expressing interest to be on this working committee for the senior center. The town clerk explained this was not a committee to save the current location, as that location is “going to be torn down.” Has there been a vote by the public on this? Another caller was told it was not really a group – maybe just a few people like a focus group. Appears there is no plan in place, just comments made to pacify the growing public interest of this situation. 

Seniors of Portsmouth are being disenfranchised and deserve better than this! 

Roseanne Martin

East Main Road

Portsmouth

Please support your local news coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy - and many of the advertisers who support our work - to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at eastbayri.com - we believe it is our mission is to deliver vital information to our communities. If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please consider a tax-deductible donation. 

Donate Here

Thank you for your support!

Matt Hayes, Portsmouth Times Publisher

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.