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Seniors need help

On March 1st the Republican reported that many of Chicopee's seniors were in dire financial straights due to rising energy costs with some seniors turning down thermostats below comfort levels and others are selling their homes since they cannot afford rising energy costs. Yet just last December 17th commissioners of the city's three utility departments unanimously agreed that many of Chicopee's needy seniors do not deserve discounts on their utility bills. On March 2nd that same newspaper reported the mayor is planning to bond for between $ 7.1 million and $ 9 million (or more) for a new senior center.

Will the mayor and other city officials provide them with free transportation to a new senior center if they cannot afford to purchase gas for their vehicles or pay for the PVTA ride? Or if they build it, will they even come? Many have moved from their family home into private sector housing with their inherent amenities, or left the city behind for a warmer climate. Others, the "boomers", will work well into their 70's to keep up with today's inflation.

Chicopee officials should get their priorities for our seniors straight. If they really want to help seniors in this city, then earmark the millions planned for a new senior center for affordable senior housing. One big single story housing complex, with a pool, gymnasium, and all other amenities planned for a new senior center and with the amenities and programs normally associated with the senior center open to all seniors, not just residents. The funds allocated to support the current senior center could be used to support the same activities in the new housing/senior center complex, and income from the units would make such a complex a win for the city and a win for all seniors.

Where? On city owned land adjacent to Bellamy school next to the new park and walkways that could and should be constructed on the former Robert's Pond recreational area site that is available to the city at a fraction of the market cost of land in Chicopee.

Jim Raschilla

Chicopee