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Free tax help to be offered at old senior center

Date: 1/24/2012

Jan. 25, 2012

By Debbie Gardner

WESTFIELD — Getting free help with their taxes will require a trip downtown for Westfield seniors.

According to Council on Aging (COA) Clerk Carol Shannon, regardless of where the other COA programs are located from February through April, the annual American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Income Tax Assistance Program will take place in the original Senior Center at 40 Main St.

Since June 27, 2011 most of the Senior Center programs have taken place at St. John Lutheran Church located at 60 Broad St. The programs were relocated to the church because of ongoing construction in the downtown area, including extensive construction at the site of Rocky’s ACE Hardware, which shares a common wall with the center and made visiting the 40 Main St. site both difficult and dangerous for members.

Shannon said the tax program has to take place at the downtown location because “that’s where our computers are.”

She said appointments to meet with AARP-trained volunteer tax preparers are slated to take place on Monday and Thursday mornings beginning in February. Elders interested in scheduling an appointment should call 562-6435.

Shannon noted that recently completed renovations to the Thomas Street parking lot should make visiting the old center easier for seniors.

“It’s beautiful now, and safe,” she said, adding that the lot offers three hours of free parking, ample time for a tax preparation appointment. “If [seniors] park there and not in the Stop & Shop lot, they will not be required to walk through the [Rocky’s] construction area.”

Shannon said all of the COA programs would be returning to the 40 Main St. location as soon as the original Rocky’s ACE Hardware building is demolished.

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