Letter: Question 2 worded to mislead residents — vote ‘no’

Posted 10/25/21

To the editor:

To Portsmouth voters, vote “no” on Question 2.

The yard signs that say “Save the Senior Center Vote Yes” are misleading and misrepresent the …

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Letter: Question 2 worded to mislead residents — vote ‘no’

Posted

To the editor:

To Portsmouth voters, vote “no” on Question 2.

The yard signs that say “Save the Senior Center Vote Yes” are misleading and misrepresent the “Friends of Portsmouth Senior Center” group!

The Friends of Portsmouth Senior Center (“Friends”) was formed to raise funds for the state mandated sprinkler system which the town failed to install.

The “Save Portsmouth Senior Center” signs were made to bring awareness to the community. We worked very closely with senior center leadership. 

The Town Council has worked exclusively with Church Community Housing Corporation (CCHC) behind the scenes to develop the plan for the Anne Hutchinson School property.

The senior center leadership was initially opposed turning over town-owned property to CCHC, however recently had a "change of heart.” They clearly have been coerced into thinking the building is in worse shape than thought and fear they will be evicted if this proposal is not approved. The senior center is in the middle of a valid lease with the town, and the building has been and will continue to be operational.

CCHC deliberately used the likeness of our “Friends’” signs to develop their “Save Senior Center Vote Yes” signs to confuse the public with the implication that Friends supports this proposal. We do not. Therefore, Friends have posted “Vote No” signs.

Voters, do not be fooled. Read the ballot question very carefully. It is not about saving the senior center as presented; this vote is about transferring this (school, land and ball field) property to an unknown entity. This will not be a new home for the Portsmouth Senior Center. This question is deliberately written to mislead voters.

The senior center is not being “saved” by voting “yes” to ballot Question 2. 

Don't be misled by the ballot question as written. It is unclear to whom the transfer is between and does not include a firm commitment to building a comprehensive senior center. Despite the very enticing design proposal, there is no written agreement between the town and CCHC and no defined financing. Also, the proposal does not include a senior center with the amenities our residents currently enjoy. It is focused on developing affordable housing, including market-rate condos, with a “shared” multi-purpose room for seniors. This is not a senior center. CCHC only added the multi-purpose room after public outcry over the closure of the senior center. CCHC is a developer and is saying anything the public wants to hear to get this deal. 

Our seniors deserve to be the focus and beneficiary of our town resources, not CCHC. Keep the Anne Hutchinson School property as a town-owned resource for public use. Vote “no” on Question 2.

Mary Ellen Martin 

Friends of Portsmouth Senior Center

21 Massachusetts Boulevard

Portsmouth

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