Letter: Need for Senior Center Clouding Park Issue
In a letter to the editor, a Marlborough resident says the need for a new senior center is clouding the issue of losing land at Ward Park.
Editor's Note: This letter was sent to city officials as well as Marlborough Patch and was written by Resident Karen Maiocchi about the issue of a Senior Center at Ward Park.
This issue continues to be clouded by the overriding desire for a new senior center. The issue isn't whether the city could benefit from a new senior center, the issue is location, location, location. Any property owner knows that the value of any property either benefits or suffers based on location. The Ward Park Neighborhood Association is simply requesting that a new senior center be located in an appropriate location. The addition of a large two story building in Ward Park will directly effect property value in this area.
There are several possible locations including the large lot located the intersections of Lincoln and Mechanic Streets or adjacent to the 55+ housing development located off of Fitchburg Street behind the Assabet Valley High School football field. The city doesn't own those properties. If the Mayor is willing to justify the expenditure of 10 to 12 million dollars for a new center, he should be willing to purchase property if needed for the center to be located in the right location.
It is absurd to surmise that simply because the senior center would be located within Ward Park, seniors would be able to take advantage of the park. There is nothing preventing them from using the park now. The idea that the football cheerleaders could practice indoors in the new senior center is outrageous. Kids need to have the outdoor space to run and play and not be cooped up within four walls. Why take this away from the children of Marlborough?
The Mayor is attempting to hold the people of the city hostage by claiming that much needed improvements would take place in the park if a senior center was located there. How dare Mayor Vigeant, Councilors Pope and Elder attempt to bribe the residents of the city. The park does need attention. The homeowners in this area have approached the city numerous times requesting upgrades to the park's amenities. However, the only changes to the park have been the addition of a half pipe, a revamping of the playground, a baseball back stop and most recently an ice rink. While there were some safety concerns about the half pipe, the park has maintained a place for recreation for all ages. Which simply stated, is what the park is for.
The proposal of a senior center on only 3 percent of the land of Ward Park is extremely short sighted. The proposed footprint of the building is larger than the claimed 3%, the needed parking area is too small and access to the area via New Street is too dangerous for frequent traffic. The neighborhood streets are narrow and were never intended for through way travel. During the recent snow storms the streets were drivable as single lanes only. As a homeowner on Water Terrace I deserve to travel in safety and so do my neighbors. This area is small and compact with established homes on small lots. A drive around this area shows pride of home ownership. As a long time resident of this neighborhood, placing a senior center here will surely diminish the quality of live homeowner's here enjoy.
The mayor has an opportunity to do something great for the seniors who live here. Creating adversaries within the community is not the way to do it. The Ward Park Neighborhood Association may currently be small in number but, we will not be deterred. The old saying "you can't fight city hall" is just that, an old saying. As winter comes to an end, city hall can expect a fight. My intention is to become much more visible and much louder as I continue to oppose the proposed location.