There was a news snippet that caught my attention: Ellsworth’s Bryant Moore Community Center would not be used as a senior center for Friends in Action. I was on the Planning Board when the idea struck to retrofit the Moore School and turn it into a city community center. The tenants would be jointly a senior center created by Friends in Action and a child-care center run by the YMCA.
Besides being a recently retired 10-year member on the Planning Board, I have been a volunteer driver for FIA. When it was started, I thought the concept of the Moore Community Center to be a great idea: daycare for children and headquarters for FIA. We would have a real senior center. Ellsworth is a viable city with many fine amenities found in bigger communities, but it still has the feeling of a small hometown. Thanks to the city, the Moore School was renovated. Under the ownership of the city, both the daycare and senior center would be its tenants. Seniors had a place to go and enjoy each other’s companionship.
How did the Moore Community Center become exclusively the YMCA hybrid daycare and learning center? I would like to list what the Friends in Action Senior Center gave to our city:
- FIA provides free transportation by volunteer drivers to medical appointments, shopping appointments, miscellaneous social rides, food delivery and pickup.
- Mental, physical and mindful programs: Yoga, Tai Chi, Strength and Balance, Rock Steady (exercise for Parkinson’s disease), Fitness Room, art classes and creative writing.
- Workshops: Medicare help, AARP driving, estate planning, health clinics.
- Leisure: Coffee hour, recitals and concerts.
This senior center has provided many activities and, above all, friendship and fellowship for Hancock County seniors. My question is: Who made the decision to dissolve the not-for-profit Senior Center? Was it a city referendum? Is the City Council responsible for the Senior Center shutdown? Is this a political or a monetary decision?
Seniors may not have much of a voice, but we do have an election coming up. Yes, the pandemic will pass, but where can the seniors go for a place they can feel at home with camaraderie and friendship and not be alone?
Roger P. Lessard