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New Scituate Harbor Community Building helps expand senior programming

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 20, 2011 01:16 PM

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Although the Scituate Harbor Community Building isn't being used solely for the town's Senior Center, the renovated building has meant the expansion of many senior-focused programming.

According to Florence Choate with the Scituate Council on Aging, the space and the increased parking available at the site has meant Scituate seniors are getting opportunities now that they’ve had to miss out on in the past.

“We’re happy to have it. Like I said, so many things [at the Senior Center] – when we have a party here, or an event … we can only have 40 people here, so we’ve had a waiting list for everything,” she said.

The building, previously known as Pier 44 Restaurant, went through an extensive survey in the town this year to figure out what to do with the building, which the town purchased with $1.87 million in MBTA mitigation money from the construction of the Greenbush line.

According to the online survey, the top preference was for park space, the second most popular choice was a combined building facility for community use of all ages.

Now, the building can be rented by any public group and is also available for community meetings, a fact the Council on Aging has been taking advantage of.

For example, on Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Council on Aging will host a Staying Healthy and Aging Well Community Health Fair.

It’s an event that will feature demonstrations on being healthy – from how to get up from a chair properly to basic nutrition – as well as some basic health screenings, such as bone density tests and a flu clinic.

“It’s informative,” Choate said. “We have 35 participants who range from South Shore Hospital to independent places like Alzheimer’s or the people who are in assisted living, different forms of resources that would be available to seniors.”

It’s the first time the council has offered such an event, which it hopes becomes popular in the community.

“Signing up for the Scituate Community Building has been very helpful, because we could never do that here. We’re trying to get these things off the ground because we were prohibited in the past with space and parking. We’re trying to make up for lost time,” Choate said.

The Council will also host an event Thursday on Medicare in the building, an event 50 people have already signed up for.

The Council will also host a craft fair at the Community Building on Nov. 19, featuring work from seniors.

“We’re going to have some vendors and some of our own seniors – some great knitters, talented quilters,” Choate said. “It’s near enough to Christmas that if people want some hand made things they can get them for Christmas. We plan on using that as a fund-raiser for seniors who need fuel assistance.”

Despite the new room, some senior programming is still limited.

Programs and events that require staff and experienced professionals – such as yoga - must be located in the Senior Center, as the limited personnel can’t be in two places at once.

Regardless, being able to provide renewed education to seniors and also host more events for the public is an exciting notion for the council.

“It gives us a fresh start to be able to come out and give what other senior centers offer,” Choate said.

Community groups interested in using the Senior Center are encouraged to contact Town Hall. Building use must be planned a month in advance.

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