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No Stairs, No Shared Space Prove Popular In Trumbull Senior Center Debate

Friends play a hand of cards at the Trumbull Senior Center. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The Trumbull Senior Center's current facility at 23 Priscilla Place. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

TRUMBULL, Conn. — Trumbull's Pedro Mila, 95, doesn’t ask for a lot in life. But he knows what he wants in a senior center.

“One floor!” he said outside a meeting to discuss ideas for a new senior center in town. “I want it on one floor! I’m 95. I don’t want to go up and down these stairs.”

Mila was one of about 50 seniors who gathered at Trumbull Senior Center on Friday to meet with members of the Town Council’s Senior/Community Center and Library Study Committee. The committee is seeking public opinion on whether the town should keep or upgrade the current center, move to a new location or combine the senior center with a community center for all ages and/or the public library.

“Everything is on the table,” said Joe Pifko, who co-chairs the committee with fellow council member Dan Marconi.

Pifko told the seniors the committee first toured the current location at 23 Priscilla Place and then visited several other senior centers around Connecticut and a few in New Jersey and Florida. The group also sought opinions in two online surveys.

The committee found several attributes contributed to a successful center, including a one-floor layout, a central location, easy access to a main road and bus service, a secure lobby, a dining area and coffee shop and a large community room.

Pifko said a good central location in Trumbull might be the Long Hill area.

When asked if they would like to combine the senior center with a community center or library — or both — Pifko was met with a resounding “no.” Seniors said they worry such a facility will mean high dues and extra class fees and might affect their taxes.

“We’re not raising anyone’s fees,” Pifko said. “There’s been no discussion of that whatsoever.”

Some thought a fresh coat of paint and kitchen improvements would improve the current location. Sharon Miller, who works in the front office, said she talks to members and said many of them are happy with the building.

“A lot of them have said, ‘We don’t want to mix with children (in a community center). If we want to do that, we’ll go to our grandchildren’s houses,’” she said to applause.

Mila said he would like to see more parking and a safer way to turn off Priscilla in traffic.

“That’s bad, really bad,” he said.

Members will eventually make their recommendations to the Town Council.

Another public meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 in the Trumbull Library common room.

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