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Dedham Senior Center committee member speaks against sites

Posted by Dave Eisenstadter  April 30, 2013 12:28 PM

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As Dedham’s Senior Center Site Committee selects criteria for a location, one member has already put forward some sites for elimination.

Margot C. Pyle, also a member of the Council on Aging and an advocate for a proposed plan at the Endicott Estate, said at a meeting Monday she did not want to see a senior center built at the Dexter School site or the former Striar property. Both sites had been strongly considered in the past.

“The Striar Property is too far from the center of town as well as being precious open space,” Pyle said Monday, nicknaming the property “Albatross Acres.”

The committee was established by a Town Meeting vote in November to head off a plan to build a senior center at the Endicott Estate and look into other options. Since then, selectmen have been looking into the possibility of acquiring or leasing a large building at 100-150 Rustcraft Road that could include a senior center, town hall, police station, and other town uses.

“The Rustcraft site seems to me to be a possibility. However many older residents of Dedham truly believed the Endicott Estate to be the ideal location,” Pyle said.

In a previous meeting, the site committee had determined that 16,000 square feet would be an ideal size for a center, but Pyle took issue with this figure. That size is just under half the space recommended by the Massachusetts Department of Elder Affairs, she said.

The site at the Endicott Estate became controversial, in part, because it was being privately funded and neighbors worried they would not get a say at Town Meeting whether the project would move forward.

The fundraising foundation established for the Endicott site will be discontinued if that site is not chosen, Pyle said.

The committee made no decisions Monday except to verbally approve a rough timeline for making their recommendation, which is due to Town Meeting by 2014.

At the next meeting, members will identify criteria that will assist them in eliminating and ranking sites.

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