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Three more possibilities for Needham senior center

Posted by Katrina Ballard  July 9, 2010 08:16 AM

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By Katrina Ballard, Globe Correspondent

The Senior Center Exploratory Committee will consider three additional sites for the new Needham Senior Center at the Board of Selectmen’s request.

The exploratory committee discussed the new sites at a meeting Wednesday night, said Denise Garlick, committee co-chair and Board of Selectmen vice chair.

In the next two months, an architect will evaluate the Emery Grover building on Highland Avenue, and Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick will look at Wingate Nursing Home on Highland Avenue and the MBTA parking lot in Needham Heights.

The committee hopes to have all necessary information on the sites by mid-August to stay on track, said Garlick, who is running for State Representative.

The SCEC has also been evaluating Ridge Hill, which is far from the town center, Rosemary Hill, which poses topography concerns, and Greene’s Field. Residents living near the field have expressed concern that building the center there would eliminate some open space, Garlick said.

“The rationale is that there is no site in Needham that is the perfect site, every site has has some constraints on it,” said Garlick. “We’re trying to be sure look at every possible option before making our recommendation.”

The Stephen Palmer Senior Center on Pickering Street is currently located in a basement with flooding problems, an “inadequate space for program needs,” said Garlick.

The committee began the process of building a new senior center in 2008, setting a strict timeline they have, so far, followed. The committee plans to request design money at the November Town Meeting and construction money at the 2011 meeting.

“The timeline is incredibly important,” said Garlick. “If we can stay on the timeline, that still means it’s 2013 before the seniors have moved.”

Katrina Ballard can be reached at kballard@globe.com.

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