The newly renovated Town of Mamaroneck (TOM) Senior Center opened its doors Friday for the first time in eight months to a slew of eager seniors.
The center—located at the (VFW) building in Larchmont—was originally slated to open at the end of July, but shipping delays resulted in that date being pushed back to September.
The town first in Spring 2010 and started construction on the VFW building in February of this year.
In that time, the center—which is part of the TOM Community Services Department—was temporarily relocated to a meeting room in the TOM Firehouse on Weaver Street.
Renovations to the site came in at about $484,000, slightly higher than the $470,000 , according to TOM Administrator Steve Altieri. A federal grant in the sum of $150,000 came from the Community Development Block Grant Program and the remaining $334,000 came from a bond issued by the TOM.
Altieri explained the bond issuance. “You sell a bond, as opposed to going out and getting a loan from a bank, we can’t do that,” he said. “So we go out and we issue a bond, and someone buys that bond as an investment and the interest is paid to the bondholder,” Altieri said.
Renovations to the center include an upgraded kitchen, handicap accessible men’s and women’s restrooms, an office for the center’s director, new windows on the front porch, a refinished floor in the main activity room, upgrades to electricity and plumbing and indoor painting.
Senior Center Coordinator Maria Gallagher discussed the Center’s need for repairs and renovation.
“We needed more space and that’s definitely been accomplished,” said Gallagher. “Also, we’ve been very lucky to be here at the veteran’s building, but it did need some work. . . the architecture is very beautiful and we wanted to still preserve some of what was here and I think they’ve done a nice job of meeting those needs,” she said.
She also describes the center—which boasts approximately 200 members—as a “drop-in place” where seniors can come whenever they want.
“For the seniors [the center] is a place for them to know that they have,” said Gallagher. “It’s something to call their own.”
John Lennon, 88, has been a Mamaroneck resident since 1957. He visits the senior center “every day it is open.”
“There’s always a place to go, always friends to talk with and always things happening,” said Lennon of the Center. “They make it worthwhile to be a senior.”
Lennon was impressed by the improvements made to the site, noting the vast amount of additional space.
Bill Magrino, who will turn 80 in two weeks, was also amazed at the renovations.
“The building is old and they brought it up to date,” he said. “This makes it better for everybody.”
Magrino has always enjoyed the center’s setting, which is conducive to card playing and conversation.
And that’s not all keeping these seniors occupied. Popular activities include pizza bingo, movie days, parties, and, of course, the trips. Every other month the seniors pay Mohegan Sun a visit. They also get to go shopping on Arthur Avenue, experience local museums and attend Yankee games.
“We try to change things up,” said Gallagher of the excursions.
There are some seniors that like it so much that they come every day and the center facilitates this by providing them door-to-door transportation via the Senior Bus Service. Some come to eat and others come just to sit and have coffee and enjoy each other’s company, Gallagher said.
Nancy Fazio, who has been a Mamaroneck resident for 63 years, made the move from Manhattan when she got married and hasn’t looked back. She visits the center up to three times a week.
“I think it’s going to be better now than it was before,” she said of the renovations. “This looks wonderful, it’s airy, it’s nice; they’ve done a wonderful job.”
The center, located at 1288 Boston Post Rd. in Larchmont, is open weekdays from 10:30 a.m-3:30 p.m and charges a $25 registration fee for residents ages 60 and older.