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 Seekonk Community center...

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Dave
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PostSeekonk Community center...

Ballot Question


Last edited by Dave on Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Seekonk Community center... :: Comments

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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:01 am  Dave
Quote :
Seekonk senior center case made as vote nears
BY JOSEPH S. SIEGEL FOR THE SUN CHRONICLE
Friday, January 23, 2009 2:20 AM EST

SEEKONK - A special election to decide the fate of a $5.1 million
senior community center will be held on Monday, Jan. 26.

Voters will be asked to approve a form of the state's Proposition

2 1/2 tax-limiting law, a temporary tax hike called a debt exclusion,
to pay for the senior center. Polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m.
at the town's four precincts.

Advocates for the project say a new, larger facility is desperately
needed.

The staff of the town's council on aging currently operates out of
offices on the second floor of a school building at 320 Pleasant St.
The building also houses Seekonk Human Services, which provides fuel
assistance, food, prescription assistance, and counseling services to
people in the community. The building is several years old, has
wooden floors, and is populated by teachers and staff of the
Southcoast Educational Collaborative. A receptionist and four senior
aides share cramped office space with two senior volunteers. There is
a lot of noise, and little privacy.

"It's deplorable," said Veronica Brickley, one of the agency's
outreach case managers. Brickley described a "cacophony of sound" in
the office, which causes difficulty for the senior citizens who are
hard of hearing.

The council on aging offers many educational courses, consisting of
financial and health information. And, the clients taking the courses
have increased dramatically in recent years. "Our numbers have
tripled," said Jan Tabor, an outreach case manager.

A lack of space is a problem, according to Tabor: "We see a lot of
people. We don't have the room for them."

Human Services has a food pantry stocked with lots of canned goods,
and handles referrals for Doorways, which provides food for needy
residents. People who are eligible for the WIC (Women Infants and
Children) program are referred to facilities in Attleboro and Taunton
due to the limited space.

There is a kitchen, which Tabor said is not large enough for
preparing meals. The COA doesn't have the capacity to run a Meals on
Wheels program. In addition, the temperatures in the kitchen
fluctuate wildly, from sweltering heat to ice-cold.

There is no elevator, so seniors who have trouble climbing stairs
must use a chairlift attached to the stair railing. The building
entrance is "always blocked", Tabor said.

Two large doghouses, built by students attending the Southcoast
Collaborative, were placed at the entranceway. On a recent day, huge
sheets of ice and snow coated the parking lot and sidewalk in back of
the building.

"You become used to the conditions," said Tabor. "It's pretty sad
where we are."

Tabor believes the time is right for a new building to be constructed
to meet the needs of the town's seniors. A building which is safe,
roomy, and which allows privacy. "They deserve a comfortable place to
talk," Tabor added. The Senior Center Building Committee will be
presenting one final question-and-answer forum about the proposed
senior community center. It will be from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Joseph S. Siegel covers Seekonk for The Sun Chronicle.


Last edited by Admin on Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:35 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Edited to reinstall filtered words. Filter adjusted.)
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:03 pm  terrybohax
Are my eyes deceiving me or does it say 'fuel crap, prescription crap' - is there a meaning to crap that I don't know about??? confused


The staff of the town's council on aging currently operates out of
offices on the second floor of a school building at 320 Pleasant St.
The building also houses Seekonk Human Services, which provides fuel
crap, food, prescription crap, and counseling services to
people in the community. The building is several years old, has
wooden floors, and is populated by teachers and staff of the
Southcoast Educational Collaborative. A receptionist and four senior
aides share cramped office space with two senior volunteers. There is
a lot of noise, and little privacy.
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:38 pm  Dave
Shocked

Nope your eyes were fine! Seems the filter had a wildcard value on the END of a filtered word making it impASSible to post the word Laughing

Since corrected and noted in the edit reason.

Good catch.

Thanks.
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:59 am  terrybohax
I would urge the voters of Seekonk to vote NO on Monday. Sad No This is absolutely not the time to be taking on more debt, both one-time for the building and ongoing for the maintenance and utilities. We should re-visit this when the economy improves. RI unemployment rate reached 10% and many of us living in Seekonk work in RI.

If we do build this Taj Mahal, I hope there's a big room allocated to feed and shelter the newly homeless.
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:07 am  Dave
Quote :
Seekonk senior center on line
BY JOSEPH S. SIEGEL FOR THE SUN CHRONICLE
Sunday, January 25, 2009 1:49 AM EST

SEEKONK - Voters will decide on Monday whether to approve a debt
exclusion for a $5.1 million senior center.

The impact on homeowners would be minimal, according to Don
Kinniburgh, the head of the senior center building committee.

Kinniburgh explained a debt exclusion is different from an override,
because an override permanently increases the tax rate while a debt
exclusion is temporary.

The highest amount assessed in taxes would be $44 per house, based on
a median home price of $289,000.

The 10,000-square-foot facility, to be constructed on the land behind
town hall, will serve as a community center. Various organizations
will be able to use the building for meetings and other events.
Kinniburgh said the council on aging building on Pleasant Street
was "old and dilapidated," adding that "people don't bother to go
because they can't climb the stairs."

Committee member Richard Perry noted the senior center would serve
multiple uses, including a base of operations for Meals On Wheels,
the WIC program, and possibly the veterans agent.

Perry noted the cost could end up being lower than $5.1 million, if
the state gave the committee a building grant for the project.

Critics of the project have been vocal about their reservations,
particularly Selectman Robert Richardson supports a new center but
thinks the cost is too high and that a debt exclusion amounts to
a "tax hike" on residents.

Arthur Foulkes, who has his own show on Cable 9, believes the cost
is "absurd."

"The community deserves a much more cost-effective project," Foulkes
said.

Foulkes noted that the recent question and answer forums held by the
building committee regarding the project should have been held months
earlier so the community could have been able to provide their input.

Foulkes believes the state or federal government might provide
funding for the center even if the voters reject the debt exclusion.

"We may be able to build this building at a significantly reduced
cost than what (the building committee) have proposed," Foulkes added.

Polling places The polling places will be open from noon to 8 p.m.
Voters may cast ballots:

Precinct 1 - North School, North Street.

Precinct 2 - Seekonk Public Library, Newman Avenue.

Precinct 3 - Town Hall, Peck Street (off Route 44).

Precinct 4 - Martin School, Cole Street.
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:29 pm  Dave
Ballot fails...

Precinct;

#1 90 y 279 n

#2 175 y 262 n

#3 119y 192 n

#4 79y 179n

Total: 463 for 912 against
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:05 am  Dave
Quote :
Seekonk voters say no to senior center
BY JOE SIEGEL FOR THE SUN CHRONICLE
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 2:19 AM EST


Tax hike rejected

SEEKONK - There will be no tax increase to pay for a new senior
center. At least for now.

Voters in a special election Monday soundly rejected a $5.1 million
Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion for a senior center by a vote of 912
to 463.

A total of 1,378, or 14.6 percent of the town's 9,454 eligible
voters, braved the cold winter temperatures to cast ballots.

The 10,000-square-foot facility would have been constructed in the
back of town hall on Peck Street.

Supporters of the project said a new building was needed for the
town's elderly population. The current facility on Pleasant Street
has been criticized for its dilapidated condition and its shortage of
space. Don Kinniburgh, head of the senior center building committee,
acknowledged the declining economy was a major factor in the vote.

"We gave 100 percent," Kinniburgh said of the work the committee had
done.

Critics rapped cost

Critics of the project included selectman Robert Richardson, who
complained the price tag was too expensive. Richardson had urged the
committee to scale back the cost of the project.

Selectman Francis Cavaco, a member of the building committee, also
believed the cost was "too high."

"There was nothing wasted in that building," Kinniburgh said, noting
the $5.1 million figure was not exorbitant.

Despite the vote, a new senior center is still a possibility.

Selectmen may put the issue on the ballot for April's annual town
election.

Meanwhile, Cavaco remains determined to find a new place for the
seniors to congregate.

"Something will be done for them," Cavaco said.
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:02 pm  Dave
A viable alternative to constructing a new community center???

Potential Community Center Link

uhm

ONE LEVEL IN CUSTOM BUILT ESTATE.

10,000+ SQ. FT OF LIVING SPACE ON 14 ACRES.

OPEN FLOOR PLAN PERFECT FOR ENTERTAINING.

MEDIA AND EXERCISE ROOMS, NANNY SUITE, 7 CAR GARAGE, BARN.
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:23 pm  mkreyssig
hmmmm....you could be on to something....
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Zoning Issues?
Post on Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:10 pm  terrybohax
Would there be zoning issues with this property?
What about the septic system capacity? That could be a large expense if the septic system has to be redone to accommodate 100 or more people at normal events that would be held there.

I am totally in favor of seriously looking at this property for the Senior Center. It is pretty centrally located, on one level, with 14 acres, has enough BR's that can be easily converted to offices, a large kitchen, and a large open area for tables and chairs for dining, activities, etc.
For about 3 million we may be able to get the center purchased, converted to office space, restrooms upgraded for accessibility, wired for communications, furnished, and also gain 14 acres of property.

Does anyone know if there are any restrictions on the 14 acres of land with respect to wetlands, etc.? Could the Town later build an outdoor event facility on the land for concerts, etc? That's something I'm sure would become a NIMBY issue.
Senior Center
Post on Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:37 pm  Lars
What about looking at some of the buildings that are now or are about to be vacant?

There are buildings that housed Linen's-n-things or that now house Circuit City which are designed to be wheelchair accessible, have giant parking lots and wide open floorplans which provide an open slate for an interior customization.
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:53 pm  terrybohax
'A total of 1,378, or 14.6 percent of the town's 9,454 eligible
voters, braved the cold winter temperatures to cast ballots.

The 10,000-square-foot facility would have been constructed in the
back of town hall on Peck Street.'

Let's see .. only 1,378 voters, (14.6% of eligible voters) could be bothered to vote at 4 convenient neighborhood locations in their respective parts of town on a facility that would be built and used in central Seekonk behind Town Hall - one mile from the Seekonk High School - where North and South end voters allegedly stayed away from on April 6th because of the distance or inconvenience to get to the polling location?

How many current and future seniors is this Senior/Community Center really going to serve? How many of us will be willing or able to travel to this center in our extremes of New England weather? Will we build a $3.5 - 5 million building for use only by those within a mile or two of it?
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Re: Seekonk Community center...
Post on Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:59 pm  mkreyssig
That's the thing Terry. Very few people voted. In the 3 days leading up to this, my biggest gripe was that no one new that the special election was taking place. I was at my sons basketball game the Saturday before the election, and I was asked by another parent if we knew what we were voting for on Monday.

So these are my conspiracy theories...

1) It was probably kept under wraps because the planners knew that there would be strong opposition.

2) It was planned at the last minute because the BOS wanted it to fail

3) Nobody bothered to even tell the seniors the day that the special election was being held....or

4) The seniors did know the special election was being held and they voted down their own center.

Furthermore....as I was crash coursing the details in about a day and a half, I was stunned by some of the numbers, and some of the details that were driving the cost up unnecessarily.

For example....we were paying the architect I think a little over a half a million dollars. Now he may also have been acting as the PM, but that seems excessive. The town also would not allow the senior center to use the road leading into the town hall or the police/fire station (i forget which) but the result was that they were going to have to build their own road!

The other problem is that there was no definite cost because I don't think the plans had even been finalized. (Actually....there may not have been plans when we voted to put it on the ballot in Town Meeting) One or the other.

Either way...in the future i think it would be smart to reject the proposals in town meeting until the people proposing the project have a realistic, and verifiable cost scenario. even if that means approving money to have engineering plans drawn up for the project in advance. It will save us a lot of guessing and surprises in the long run.
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