Planning Board approves Adult Center project

LONGMEADOW – The new Longmeadow Adult Community Center is a step closer to becoming a reality.

Planning Board Chair Donald Holland confirmed that the board unanimously approved the plans for the new facility at Greenwood Park at its meeting on Wednesday, June 12.

The plans for the 24,200-square-foot building include indoor and outdoor fitness and wellness, dining, activity and community areas while complying with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

The facility would also provide much-needed private areas for the town nurse, veterans services and social services.

An issue regarding safety due to the project’s proximity to the nearby swimming pool was raised during the public hearing on the project, but representatives from Fieldstone Land Consultants eased those concerns by pointing out that the sidewalk access to the pool and the project site were separate.

Residents approved the construction of the nearly $14 million Adult Community Center at the Annual Town Meeting in May 2018. The projected costs include approximately $11 million for construction with the rest earmarked for soft costs.

Before Town Meeting approval, Marybeth Bergeron of the Adult Center Building Committee had stressed the need for a new Adult Center due largely to the increasing number of older and senior residents. She noted Longmeadow has roughly 4,500 individuals ages 60 and older. In addition, there are nearly 2,700 “rising seniors”, or residents between 50 and 60 years old.  She projected the senior population would account for nearly 45 percent of the town’s total population once those “rising seniors” reach 60.

The Planning Board also approved a plan from The Meeting House to add an outdoor patio to its restaurant space.

The board’s conditional approval requires the patio to be closed by 10 p.m. with the exception of Friday and Saturday when it can stay open until 10:30.

The ownership of The Meeting House had also recently gone before the Select Board seeking extended hours until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday however, the selectmen rejected that proposal. In a letter to the board, Police Chief John Stankiewicz requested the board maintain consistency with the licenses of other restaurants in town, which close by 11 p.m. with the exception of Max Burger, which closes at 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Select Board decided it would allow The Meeting House to stay open until 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.