By Betsy Huber Port
It was July 11 at 11 a.m. The town was still recovering from a wet microburst only five days before. I expected a large group of older residents to attend the Greenwood Park event to watch the dedication and ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Adult Center. When I arrived it was amazing to see such a huge crowd of over 200 folks in attendance. Local residents and dignitaries of all ages were there. The large white tent was filled to capacity. How old do you have to be to use this new state of the art meeting place? Most “seniors” are 55 and older and very active but younger people will be welcomed! The architect for this new center is John Catlin who designed the Holyoke Senior Center and many more in this area.
Marybeth Bergeron was a major force behind the new center for adults. After the plan to use the Bliss Park location failed, she set out to find an alternative. The fact is this 26,000-square-foot adult center has been talked about for seven or eight years. Countless meetings and focus groups totaling thousands of hours were needed to get this plan off the ground. Now it is time to show your support. Presley Blake and his wife Helen have set aside $50,000 in a challenge grant. If we can raise a matching amount of $50,000, he will double it and we will have $100,000 to go towards this effort. Before the challenge grant was offered, Marybeth announced that $250,000 had already been pledged.
Naming of rooms for large donations is encouraged. Honor a loved one by naming part of this Adult Center in his/her honor. Any amount will be welcome. As little as $25, 50 or $100 is worth donating to this cause. Look in your pockets and be as generous as possible. There is a financing goal of $1 million to raise before the construction is completed. The expected work will be done by late 2020 when a grand opening will be planned.
You can also donate in other ways as well. Many folks around town donate items to the Maple Tree Gift Shoppe, which is a thrift shop at the present Greenwood Park Center. Our town website explains that they carry handcrafted items, all occasion greeting cards, clothing, baby gifts, toys and more! Their hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Donations can be accepted during these hours and if you need your merchandise picked up please call 413-565-4150. The gift shoppe is closed on weekends. Please clean out those closets and bookshelves and bring them your castoffs. Someone’s trash is another person’s treasure. Although I plan to de-clutter and slowly downsize, I have also made some good finds there! Please visit the Greenwood Park at 231 Maple Road to shop or to see the progress as the new building develops over the next year and a half. You can also donate your time as a volunteer and a fundraiser. If you think the new Adult Center isn’t for you, think again! If you are in your thirties or forties now, before you know it your kids will be off to college and beyond and you may want to hang out with your friends there and you may even pick up pickleball! No one will be turned away!
To support the new Adult Center, send donations to the Longmeadow Adult Community Center Fund Inc., P.O. Box 60612, Longmeadow, MA 01116.