Friday, January 8, 2010

Another possible location?

I was talking with David Hall the other day, and our conversation turned to the senior center.

He said he thought an ideal location would be the closed up restaurant behind Starboard Galley. "Oh," I thought, "so that's what that building is!" I thought it was a boat house or something. See how much (little) I know? yikes

It's part of 51 Water St. but it looks kind of small ... sure adding on to it would be less than building a whole new structure, though. But WHOA - what about Chapter 91 issues?

The building is owed by Newburyport Manager, which is nearly the same as saying New England Development. Keeping track of real estate holding companies is like trying to dig a hole in the sand; I used to work in the real estate dept. of an investment company.

But yeah ... I can see senior citizens bobbing in boats tied up there, holding dances and such in the pavilion and having easy access to Starboard Galley.

And it's flat. I took a gander at the Towle property the other day, and the buildings there are all built into the hill. Doubts are starting to creep into my mind as to its viability as a location for a senior center - although I hate looking at those Tyvek-covered buildings when I drive by.


Ari Herzog said...

When I met with senior residents of the Steam Mill and we spoke about a senior center, many suggested they'd rather see it located near Port Plaza than anywhere else in the city. Something to think about. How about renovating the land on the abandoned Asian restaurant, and connecting it to the parking lot adjacent?

Gillian Swart said...

That actually makes a lot of sense. Thanks.

Bubba said...

Ch 91 issues like this:

"..McCavitt has had run-ins with New England Development and their local property managers, Ann and Chuck Lagasse. He fought the expansion of the Hilton marina, a pending license issue at Michael's Harborside, the size of the walkway in front of the Black Cow, and the Lagasse-proposed waterfront restaurant Fin 51, which never opened."

macsurf said...

I understand all the concerns for the "elders", I'll be one in not too many more years, but why aren't we talking about a true COMMUNITY center where elders and young folk alike can interact.

Maybe I'm naive, but one of the greatest gifts I was given growing up in Andover and summers on Seabrook Beach was it was INTERGENERATIONAL

Why have so many well intended people lost sight of that blessing?

I just don't get it anymore.

Anonymous said...

The youth have the drop in center at Kelly School and they have the teen loft at the library as well as after school programs at all the schools. The seniors need there place to run their programs, classes and functions. That building would never accomodate the building space needed or the parking needed for a senior center.

Anonymous said...

Find a building that the city already owns and open an interim senior center. It's quick and more importantly it will demonstrate the actual demand and usage of a senior center BEFORE spending a ton of money.

It certainly does NOT need to be waterfront, despite the attraction of Gillian's vision of senior citizens bobbing in boats (take it from this Master Captain, that's a distinctly dangerous set of circumstances).

There are also empty storefronts; see if Karp and company are willing to donate the use of one for a year. Karp gets a tax write-off as an incentive.

- The Carrot

Gillian Swart said...

Well, it's better than the vision of my dad's white-haired head bobbing in the waters of Gloucester Harbor, after he fell off our sailboat ...

Bob said...

"Fins 51" was given a Chapter 91 license as a "water dependent" stucture. Eateries are not water dependent hence why it is vacant/used for storage etc.
Not sure if a senior center is water dependent or if its big enough and that there is proper parking etc.

Gillian Swart said...

Bob, that's why I brought in the boats, no matter how tongue-in-cheek. Yes, it would have to have some element of water use (boating classes?) ... isn't there an expanse of parking there, to the east (land side of the pavilion)? I seem to recall trudging across it to get to the water. But I think the bldg. is too small, as it is.

Macsurf, I have had that discussion/argument with someone already, offline. While it's a nice idea, I think seniors deserve a dedicated spot. We gave Kelley School (well, Moak did) to the youth so why can't we find somewhere for our elders? It's disrespectful.

Ari Herzog said...

There's a key element you're missing in your argument, Gillian, when referring to the youth services department and the move to the Kelley School. NYS director Andrea Egmont pushed and pushed grant applications, frequently lobbied for money from Costello, Baddour, Tierney, you name it.. and when the money came back, the mayor agreed.

It wasn't as simple as saying, "Yes, you can have programs at the Kelley School" for you know the building needed renovations.

Are there other municipal-owned buildings that could be similarly retrofitted? I don't think so, unless anything can be expanded.

Gillian Swart said...

Yes ... and all for about 25 kids! Not to denigrate Andy's achievements, but do you know how much money Roseanne has "lobbied" for on behalf of the COA? I mean, do you actually know? I don't ... the city already set the precedent by segregating the youth (all 25 of them). They could have put the seniors on the first floor of the school, on a temp basis; it would have been better than nothing and it would have saved whatever rent the taxpayers subsidize to the Salvation Army.

Oh, and Anonymous, the middle school after-school center was shut down when the school needed the space ... but I agree with your main point.

And Ari, it's a department head's responsibility to lobby for whatever funding is out there! Everyone always acts like it's some kind of special thing when it happens. I suggest you go over to Amesbury and see how much $$ dept. heads get there, esp. the School Dept.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gillian: I know the middle school center is not for drop ins anymore but there are still after school programs run at all the schools in the fall and spring(ie crafts, sports, games).

I agree there are better uses for the Kelley. It is too much for building for the small # that use it. But seniors need adequate parking and accessibility. These fine people certainly need space and plenty of it. Forty years is surely long enough of a wait. Too many have come and gone without this wonderful's sad.

Gillian Swart said...

I agree - it is sad; it's beyond sad.

Manager said...

Hi Gillian,
The Kelley School is getting more use, they're moving the youth services office there, finally. I tires offering music classes there this school year, but alas, no takers.
re: senior center, why don't they just rent space at the new Towle building? there's plenty of room and it is right by the water, loads of free parking too!

Kathy H