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Hagerstown residents offer mixed reactions on senior center

Most of those interviewed supported the idea, but disagree on where it should be built

November 10, 2011|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • In this Herald-Mail file photo, people show their support for funding the senior center at a public hearing for the Washington County Commissioners' proposed budget at Hager Hall.
Herald-Mail file photo

Hagerstown residents had mixed reactions Thursday afternoon about whether and where a senior citizen center should be built in Washington County.

James Jones said he supported the idea of building a senior center because it would be a way to make sure seniors are helped.

"A senior center is a perfect vehicle for people 65 and older," Jones said. "Seniors could go out to meet seniors, and the center could make sure the seniors have everything they need from medication to Social Security checks."

Tom Franzina said a center would keep senior citizens occupied.

"They've got to have something to do when they get older," he said. "I lost my job, and I might go there as long as I could do something."

Bill Wolfinger said that if a senior center were to be built, it would need to be in a centralized location.

"A senior center would need to be available for seniors that do want to use the facility," he said. "Downtown is probably the best option."

Ed Phillips said the former Washington County Hospital on King Street should have been turned into a senior center.

"Right now it's a waste of space and money," he said. "Instead of tearing it down, they should turn it into something useful."

Workers are in the process of demolishing the old hospital.

But former Maryland State Trooper Richard Poffenberger said that a senior center should not be near downtown.

"If they build one I think it should be out in a little more open space somewhere," he said. "Parking will be a problem downtown, especially for seniors."

The county plans to build a $5.85 million senior citizen center on the Hagerstown Community College campus off Robinwood Drive, according to previous reports.

Mary Ann Mundey said that placing a center on the HCC campus could be very problematic.

"There will be a lot more traffic in the area if they put the senior center by (HCC) because things are already congested over there," she said. "Downtown is probably the best place, even if parking is an issue."

Dan Fraley said that it does not matter where the center is built, what is important is that it gets built.

"If they just go ahead and build a place that people can use, then seniors will come no matter where it is," he said. "The talking is over; it's time for action."

Sam Burke said a senior center should not be a priority for the county.

"There are lots of other problems in this county right now, including people losing their homes," he said. "It's a waste of too much money to build a senior center that may or may not be used."

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