Opinions of citizens sought on the proposal for a new community center | Reading

READING – Make your voice heard and be part of Reading’s Vision for the future! Join the conversation at one of the upcoming public forums, hosted by the Town of Reading, on how the town should plan for a new seniors/community centre.

Two public forums are scheduled for April 6, 2022 (in person and via Zoom). The first public forum is at 1 p.m. at the Pleasant Street Center and https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84819061123?pwd=dER3ZW1IZlhoUmgram01b3h4blVSdz09. The second public forum is at 6 p.m. at the Library or https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89488667893?pwd=MDVmV3RkV2NESDdBRHFBNDR3RVAwQT09

The existing Senior Center, the Pleasant Street Center (PSC), was part of a needs assessment conducted in 2017 by the UMASS Gerontology Institute. The study concluded that the limitations associated with the CSP limit the City’s ability to meet the needs of seniors. A key recommendation from the UMASS study was to explore the possibility of providing more space for the center, particularly given the growing elderly population and the trend for many seniors choosing to age in place.

Subsequent enhancements were made to the PSC to continue to deliver programs and services within the confines of the existing building. Seniors and Human Services staff have provided a vital lifeline to older people, especially in the last 24 months of the global pandemic, by providing remote programming, drive-in events, loaner program of Chrome books and, most importantly, thousands of phone calls to the elderly when the PSC was closed for security reasons.

Several months ago, Town Meeting funded the cost of a planning study to hire a consultant to help identify the pulse of the community regarding a new center (eg, seniors only or intergenerational). Last fall, the Select Committee created and appointed members of Reading’s Center for Active Living Committee (Re-Calc), an ad hoc committee that will explore the current and future needs of the community and develop recommendations on how city ​​should plan a new settlement. Together with the consultant, a team hired by the UMass Institute of Gerontology, a strong community engagement effort began.

“ReCalc, city staff and our consultant from the UMass Institute of Gerontology have started,” said City Manager Fidel Maltez. “We’re excited to begin this planning process and look forward to community feedback to make it happen.”

A ReCalc presentation is scheduled for the select committee meeting on March 22, 2022 and is scheduled to be heard at 9:30 p.m. that evening. There is also additional information on the City of Reading website https://www.readingma.gov/pleasant-street-center/pages/recalc-reading-center-for-active-living-committee

Jill E. Washington