Niagara Gazette

March 17, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Giving our seniors a sense of place in Lewiston

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Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — What is a sense of place? A sense of place is a state of mind. A sense of place is described as a space or place in which we are comfortable. A sense of place is that physical or psychological environment that is pleasant, safe, socially comfortable and enjoyable. In essence the elements that make up a sense of place become our safe haven.

For Lewiston’s seniors their safe haven is their center. No one will argue where this center sits is peaceful, quiet and beautiful, and it’s for those reasons this site was chosen, and why our seniors wish to stay. But, some are proposing they leave this peaceful, comfortable haven for something else and to this our seniors respond, thank you, but we’d rather stay where we are.

At a recent meeting regarding the proposed Lewiston Recreation and Senior Center, I expressed the thoughts and wishes of many seniors who have contacted me about their displeasure of having to leave their present center.

While I was speaking a Lewiston Town Board member interrupted me in an attempt to challenge my creditability with regard to my speaking on behalf of Lewiston’s seniors. Obviously this gentleman has either been out of town for the last 20-plus years or in need of some memory medicine. My involvement with the seniors started 25 years ago delivering Meals on Wheels, continued as a member of and chairman of Lewiston’s Senior Advisory Board and concluded as a town board liaison to the Senior Department.

As a member of the Senior Advisory Board we recommended the purchase of the center and advocated for the senior housing complex located on Upper Mountain Road. For many years I was a member of both the Lewiston and Sanborn seniors, for this gentlemen to challenge my creditability to speak on behalf of the senior is almost laughable. The seniors asked me to express their concerns because I have been their friend for over 20 years, and as a friend I expressed their concerns regarding their removal from their home. I concluded my remarks by saying the present center was starting to show signs of wear. The seniors list to correct these problems was small. They asked that the present flat roof be redesigned so that it didn’t leak. The center needed to have its electric rewired to accommodate removal of the air conditioning from the roof for placement on the ground. The center’s kitchen needed to be enlarged not only for our seniors but to accommodate the county’s nutrition program.

All these improvements can be accomplished using funds the town presently has available or will acquire this year through the relicensing agreement. This year the town will be receiving $1.3 million from this agreement. It’s true that some of these funds can’t be used for operational purposes, i.e., salaries. But these funds can be used for capital projects, such as improvements to the senior center. A conservative cost estimate for these improvements could be around four or five hundred thousand dollars but unlike the nearly million dollars already spent at Joe Davis it would be money spent on property we already own.

It is said that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Our seniors through their hard work have given much to Lewiston, now it’s time for us to honor their wishes by repairing their center and continuing to give them a sense of place within their safe haven.

Paulette Glasgow is a Lewiston resident.