Plans Presented for New Senior Citizens Center
Drawings and specific details for the construction of a new senior citizens center were revealed at an East Hampton Town Board work session on Tuesday by Drazen Cackovic of the DCAK-MSA architecture and engineering firm.
In a PowerPoint presentation, he described a significantly larger facility than the existing one, on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton, which has housed the senior citizens center for more than three decades. The century-old building, once a watering hole called the Cottage Inn, is to be demolished and a trailer removed from the two-acre site.
The new center has been purposely designed to meet the needs of a growing population of older adults, with vastly increased space dedicated to specific programs and activities, more than double the parking spaces, and modern amenities and design features that surpass minimum code requirements, Mr. Cackovic said. It will also address future needs “to the extent we can afford and predict” them, he said, and serve the wider community as well.
The existing facility and trailer have 11,500 square feet of interior space, where the new, two-story building will offer 18,730 square feet. Wide corridors with handrails, wide aisles between furniture, multiple sets of automatic doors, copious natural light, LED lighting with anti-glare design, a high-quality sound system, Wi-Fi, and an HVAC system designed to minimize the spread of pathogens will characterize the center, Mr. Cackovic said.
The center’s ground-floor lunchroom is to be more than doubled, from 1,353 to 3,200 square feet, with the option to divide it into separate lunch and multi-purpose rooms. The kitchen will also grow, from 735 to 1,810 square feet. Space for the adult day-care program at the center will be increased from 866 to 1,378 square feet. Only the administrative space will remain roughly the same, going from 1,579 to 1,792 square feet.
The additional space, Mr. Cackovic said, will provide for increased wellness activities such as yoga, aerobics, dancing, and meditation, allowing senior citizens to “explore new activities in their senior years.”
A dedicated, 1,775-square-foot area on the second floor will house the East Hampton food pantry, and the building will feature a receiving dock, where a conveyor belt will ferry goods to the pantry.
In addition, outdoor space will be enhanced, he said, to include walking trails, gardens, a playground, a gazebo, and 116 parking spaces, up from the present 61 spaces. Parking for buses and for town-owned electric vehicles, with charging stations, will be included, he said, and a porte-cochere will lead to the main entrance.
The next step, Mr. Cackovic said, was to seek the board’s approval for his firm to proceed to design the interior details. The goal would be for the town to put the project out for bid this summer, with construction to begin as early as the fall.
Following the presentation, Mary Ella Moeller, chairwoman of the town’s senior services committee, which was formed in 2014 to review current services and future needs, expressed satisfaction that the new center, one of the committee’s long-range recommendations, was moving toward a reality. However, she said, the idea for the new center to be situated in the present recreation space, which is dedicated to her mother, Edith Parsons, was disturbing.
“I would not like to see my mother’s name lost, and the little park and recreation area dedicated to her in the past become gone in the future.” She suggested naming something else, perhaps the new building itself, for her mother.
“We certainly do not want to lose Edith Parsons,” East Hampton Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said, adding that the path around the whole facility, a garden, or playground might be so designated. “We want you to be a part of that when we decide how to honor your mom into the future,” she said.
Ms. Moeller asked how the town would accommodate what she said was an exploding population of senior citizens. “We’re not getting that many young people; most people are aging,” she said.
“Hopefully, we’ll all be lucky enough to continue to age,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc answered with a smile. “In terms of future expectations, this site is going to be maxed out. Any further expansion of senior services, programs, or facilities would probably have to take place in some other location.”