The Page 1 story on about the Russ Sholes Senior Center presents opportunities to better serve that segment of Middlebury’s population in the years ahead.
The shocking news is the diminished active members of the group. At its current weekly luncheons only a dozen or so seniors routinely attend, with a larger group showing up monthly for a lunch that also features entertainment.
Considering that senior citizens make up a growing segment of the state’s population, the need for improved services seems inevitable. In our opinion, if new and expanded services are to be added, better space is needed. As one interviewee said, the existing space is “fairly depressing.”
That’s not to say all members would prefer to leave, contrary to what I wrote in this past Monday’s editorial. A couple members said they prefer to stay downtown, a few look forward to new space, some see positives either way. That split in opinion is also because none have seen what the new space might look like, and it’s difficult to imagine moving into new space that has yet to be built.
But let’s imagine a brighter space with full-size windows looking out onto playing fields. Let’s imagine hosting activities in other adjacent spaces to use, as suggested by the building’s architect, when those spaces are not being used. Might not senior programs be developed in those more accommodating spaces for even more seniors to use?
Certainly, a new energy-efficient facility with space to expand into offers greater potential to meet future needs than does the dimly lit room in the basement of the existing gym. It’s an opportunity waiting.
Angelo S. Lynn