Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, Colchester Legislators and Officials Announce $2.5 Million Grant-in-Aid for New Colchester Senior Center
(COLCHESTER, CT) Today, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz was joined by Colchester legislators and local Colchester officials to announce a $2.5 million state bonding grant-in aid to finance the construction of a new senior center.
In October 2019, a Senior Center Building Committee was formed. They were “charged to include: a building, related infrastructure and outdoor space that will provide for a senior center for senior services now, and in the future for seniors of all ages.” Since then, the Committee has met twice a month to implement that charge.
A new senior center aligns with many of the senior services strategic plan goals outlined by the Committee, including: strengthening community partnerships, attracting younger seniors, expanding programs and services designed to promote independence, health, wellness and the quality of life of Colchester seniors.
“After decades of advocacy, dedication and hard work by the Colchester delegation and local Colchester officials, I’m proud to announce a $2.5 million grant-in-aid to finance the construction of what will become the new Colchester Senior Center,” said Lt. Governor Bysiewicz. “Providing seniors resources to stay active and independent assists with a healthy aging process, and keeps them engaged with their community and fellow peers. The expansion of programs, availability of spaces and the addition of services will not only allow the new senior center to flourish, but allow for the enhancement and improvement of the quality of life for Colchester’s seniors.”
The existing senior center will relocate from its current 5,600 square foot location to a newly constructed 14,650 square foot facility, close to downtown. The new senior center will feature a variety of activity spaces including a cafe, game room, arts and crafts classroom, library/lounge, conference room, multi-purpose rooms, and more than 2,200 square feet dedicated to a fitness center.
“Today, we celebrate the early Christmas present that the State Bonding Commission decided to provide our community,” said Colchester First Selectman Andreas Bisbikos. “The $2.5 million grant awarded to offset the cost of the new senior center will ultimately reduce our forecasted debt service and hopefully, the anticipated financial impact on taxpayers.”
“The desire for this new center started a long time ago, and I want to thank our prior First Selectmen Shilosky and Bylone for continuing to advocate for this project,” said State Senator Norm Needleman. “Coupled with that, I want to thank everyone at this center and in town for their fierce advocacy on this issue, as their support truly helped push this project over the finish line.”
“I did not think I would ever stand here knowing that we would be constructing a new senior center. But through the wisdom of this town and the support of our legislative leaders, our Lt. Governor and our Governor, we’re going to build that new center,” said Colchester Selectman Rosemary Coyle. “They realized the value that this building will have for the Town of Colchester. It will be a place for seniors, but it will be an asset for all of our residents.”
“When I was on the Board of Selectman at the dawn of this millennium, this issue first came up as a topic of discussion,” said State Representative Brian Smith. “I think thirty years from now, when the parents of our young children are older, the value of this new center will be astronomical and will add to the lives of every senior citizen that enters those doors. This investment will pay dividends for decades into the future, and I want to thank everyone who helped make it happen.”
“When our committee came together, we looked at a myriad of building types and sizes. Our focus was not only to meet the needs of our seniors today, but also in the future,” said Chair of the Senior Center Building Committee Anthony “Tony” Tarnowski. “That building is going to help revitalize Lebanon Avenue and spur economic development in our town’s center.”
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Contact: Chelsea Neelon