An 11th-hour agreement has headed off a conflict over the future of Wellesley's senior center, a controversy that many people expected would be the most contentious issue at last week's Special Town Meeting.
One group of senior advocates wanted to consider building a new center, while others wanted to renovate the Wellesley Community Center to improve upon space already in use by seniors. Selectmen Harriett Warshaw announced during the town meeting that the selectmen and the trustees of a bequest to provide $825,000 for a new senior center agreed to work together on a plan to renovate the existing community center space to meet program needs of the town's senior population.
If they come up with a plan that both sides agree upon, Warshaw and bequest trustee Gail Kingsley said, the selectmen will decline the bequest and the money will be used for the renovation. If they are not able to agree upon a plan, the selectmen will accept the bequest and return to town meeting next spring for permission to proceed with a study for turning the current American Legion hall on Washington Street into a new senior center.
The $825,000 bequest was made by long-time resident Mary Esther Tolles, who died in July 2005 at the age of 94.
-- Lisa Keen