Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

May 2, 2013

Plan to unite seniors, youths deserves support

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

The upcoming Special Town Meeting, which will be held during the regular town meeting on Tuesday, May 7, at 8:15 p.m., is a wonderful opportunity for the voters of Andover to accomplish a goal that many residents have requested over the years: the establishment of a community center campus serving both youth and seniors.

One of the two articles to be presented at the Special Town Meeting provides approximately $650,000 to help complete the proposed Cormier Youth Center in one phase rather than two, thus saving a considerable sum of money. In addition, the completed building will have shared space, which will be used by both youth and seniors. Ultimately, this will provide much-needed additional space for senior programming, as well as foster expanded intergenerational activities.

The other article appropriates another $650,000 to a permanent fund, the interest from which will be available each year to support special senior activities, programs and services not included in the regular budget.

While it is true that there was a prior commitment not to seek further town money for the youth center project, this joint proposal recognizes changed conditions, and creates an exciting new collaborative project that benefits youth and seniors alike, and other community groups as well.

It is especially gratifying to note that Mrs. Rosalyn Wood, whose family established the trust fund from which these appropriations will come, has enthusiastically endorsed the project. And because this money comes from an existing town account, there will be no impact on the tax rate, no effect on operating budgets and no need for additional borrowing.

All in all, this is a unique time for the citizens of Andover to move forward and, without any negative impact on the town, achieve a goal that will serve the entire community. For the first time in many years, I will not be at Town Meeting this year, since my wife and I will be celebrating our 50th anniversary with a cruise next week, but I urge your support of both articles at the Special Town Meeting. It is time to bring youth and seniors together at last!

Donald Robb

36 York St.