November 23, 2011ALTON — Recently, Peter Bolster, a member of the Alton Board of Selectmen and a member of the Alton Senior Center Committee, Ken McWilliams, the town planner, Amy Braun, the director of the senior center, and Dave Countway, a member of the senior center committee got together to give an update about the renovations at the Alton Senior Center.
Bolster explained that about $45,000 has been raised through warrant articles and an additional $15,000 has been raised through fundraising efforts.
These monies should pay for Phase I of the renovation, which is nearly complete.
Bolster explained that an additional $240,000 will be needed to complete the Phase II renovation, which includes an additional 36-foot by 36-foot space, additional parking, a separate meeting room, a new septic system and various other amenities.
Braun talked about the current programs that the senior center offers: Meal on Wheels; covering close to 100 miles, noontime lunches held Monday through Friday, health and wellness classes, blood pressure clinics, arts and humanities classes, art classes, tai chi, chair yoga, a walking and hiking group, a senior companion program and many other programs.
Bolster pointed to the fact that with the expansion of the space, the center will also be a place where local community groups can hold meetings and gatherings.
He explained that the renovations will benefit more than just the senior citizens in town.
McWilliams talked about the latest United States Census data. From the data, the senior citizen population in Belknap County, which is right in line with the population in Alton, is expected to rise 35 percent during the next 20 years.
McWilliams talked about the process that the senior center committee has gone through, which began with talking about what kind of renovation would benefit the center.
Bolster talked about the additional parking spaces that will be added through the two-phase renovation. He believes that a total of 50 parking spaces would be available once the two-phase renovation is completed.
Countway thinks that the renovation to the senior center is much needed.
"We are excited to have an existing town facility changed to meet the needs of the citizens," Countway said.
Braun pointed to the addition of the private room during the second phase as an important addition to the center.
Bolster talked about the volunteering of the seniors to help mail out 4,000 brochures that were recently sent out to citizens in town, asking for a donation to help complete the second phase.
Bolster said that even if people couldn't make a donation, even sending in a pledge would help the committee realize how much money they need to fundraise in coming months.
Countway added that center needs financial support to continue supporting the seniors and all theirs needs.
"We have a wonderful director [Amy Braun], and we need a first-class facility for our director," Countway added.
The meeting concluded with a tour of the senior center, with Bolster pointing out the new windows, doors and new additions to the senior center.
Bolster explained that the current septic system will be moved, which will allow for some additional parking spaces near the senior center.
The above meeting was video recorded and will be shown on Thursday, Nov. 24, on LRPA-TV's Channel 25 at 8 p.m. There is also a DVD available for loan at the Gilman Library, courtesy of Bob and MaryBee Longabaugh.
Tim Croes can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126