Letter: Vote ‘yes’ on Question 2 to save the senior center

Posted 10/13/21

To the editor:

As chairman of the Board of Directors of the Portsmouth Multi-Purpose Senior Center (PMPSC), I was asked to serve on the Advisory Committee authorized by the Portsmouth Town Council …

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Letter: Vote ‘yes’ on Question 2 to save the senior center

Posted

To the editor:

As chairman of the Board of Directors of the Portsmouth Multi-Purpose Senior Center (PMPSC), I was asked to serve on the Advisory Committee authorized by the Portsmouth Town Council to work with the Church Community Housing Corporation (CCHC) to come up with a plan that would provide affordable senior housing and a new or rehabbed home for the PMPSC at the site of the Anne Hutchinson School (AHS).

After many meetings developing a plan, on Sept. 9, 2021, the CCHC made a presentation of this final plan to Portsmouth citizens at Portsmouth High School. This plan includes a dedicated space (referred to as a commercial condo) for the Portsmouth Senior Center. This space would be owned by the Town of Portsmouth and leased to the PMPSC in the same manner as our current lease of the AHS. This condo space would include offices for our director and staff, a kitchen, a fitness room and space for our thrift shop. In addition, adjacent to this condo would be a larger common area area comprised of a library, a game room, and a large multi-purpose room which can be divided into three separate areas.

The full plan is to build 50-plus affordable senior housing units to the right of the existing AHS on three floors and attached to the building housing the senior center condo and the common area, which would be on the first floor. Our senior center will have a contract with the housing developers to manage the entire common area plus our condo area. While this may seem complicated, our director is confident that she and her staff and volunteers will be able to successfully operate our senior center in this new building and continue all the programs our members have enjoyed over the past 40 years.

At our last Board of Directors meeting on Aug. 19, 2021, I explained this plan in detail and the board voted unanimously to support the plan as presented. There will be a special referendum on Nov. 2, 2021, asking the voters in Portsmouth to approve the following question:

“Shall a transfer of a property interest in the so-called Anne Hutchinson School property at 110 Bristol Ferry Road for the purposes of developing elderly affordable housing and a new home for the Portsmouth Senior Center, be approved?”

On behalf of our board, I urge you to support Question 2 by voting “approve” so our center can enjoy 40 more years of serving the needs of Portsmouth seniors oat the same location. No town tax dollars are being requested for this project.

Helen M. Mathieu

Newport

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.