The first meeting of the recently formed Town House Advisory Committee met on Thursday evening at the Marion Police Station to discuss various options to address the aging Marion Town House.
Members introduced themselves, giving a brief background on life skills and why they wanted to join the committee. Six of the eight members attended and Shaun Cormier, town facilities manager, chaired the meeting.
In the introductions, Priscilla Ditchfield noted that she joined the committee to represent both the Marion Council on Aging and the Friends of the Marion Council on Aging.
“Right now, one-third of our population is over 60 years-old and in ten years it will be one-quarter of the town,” said Ditchfield. “And we are one of the few towns without a senior center.”
A discussion ensued over parking issues should a senior center be added to the mix. Several members stated that the ball field behind town hall would have to become a parking lot if a senior center was added to the project.
The committee had a robust discussion about exactly what the Marion Board of Selectmen challenged the committee to accomplish.
“We need to ask the Board of Selectmen if they want us to consider a senior center or an expansion of the library in our considerations,” said member Bill Saltonstall. “We need to know what we are challenged to do as a committee.”
After much discussion regarding space needs, the committee agreed that members Wayne Mattson and Ditchfield would research similar towns that have had recent renovations and the cost of those renovations. Members Cormier and Saltonstall would research space planning at the town house, and Ditchfield and member Robert Raymond would look into Council on Aging options for a town of approximately 5,000 residents.
Other committee members include Evelyn Crocker, Meg Steinberg, and Jon Henry (representing the BOS). It was noted that Henry had over four decades of experience in the building industry including a major stint as a member of the Army Corps of Engineers.
On the agenda was a discussion to elect a committee chairman and clerk, but the committee agreed that the decision would be postponed until all committee members were present.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, July 10 at 6:30 pm at the Marion Police Station.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry