Senior Center driveway project moves forward

Jan 23, 2018

After nearly a year of planning and $70,000 raised, the Dartmouth Friends of the Elderly and the Council on Aging are moving forward with a major addition to the Senior Center: a safer driveway and entryway.

The Select Board gave the green light to the project, which was entirely funded through donations and fundraising by the non-profit Dartmouth Friends of the Elderly. The project would create a new full turn-around driveway in the rear of the building facing Dartmouth Street to better serve seniors who participate in the center’s Adult Social Day Program.

It was a project originally pitched by Amy Dipietro, the Council on Aging’s new director, last year. She previously managed the center’s Adult Social Day Program, which helps elders who are homebound or who require supervision by providing socialization programs.

Currently, the program is housed in a wing of the Senior Center at the opposite end of the existing main entrance, necessitating a long walk for participants, some of whom have mobility issues. It also creates problems for EMS responders when a response to the social day wing is necessary, she explained.

The new entryway will be covered by a canopy, shielding people from the elements during drop-off and pick-up. It will connect directly to the adult day program area too, Dipietro explained, making access easier for its participants and emergency personnel if needed.

The project was funded entirely through Friends of the Elderly donations, explained Maria Connor, the group’s president. Last year, the organization hosted a wine tasting, an art sale, and solicited donations to support the project.

Connor added that the project could not have been possible if it weren’t for the generosity of Dartmouth’s citizens, businesses, and those outside the community who also helped out. “The Town of Dartmouth’s citizens are one of the most generous,” Connor said.

It is also expected to tie into the ongoing veterans memorial grove project, with the addition of an outdoor seating area, Connor said. She added the project is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Construction is expected to begin when the weather warms up.