East Hampton Lays Out Vision for New Senior Center

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A front view of the proposed East Hampton Town senior community center. Image rendering by Savik & Murray

East Hampton Town architects have reimagined the town’s senior citizen community center with approximately double the space currently available for the senior nutrition and adult day care programs, along with flexible spaces for other wellness initiatives and the East Hampton Food Pantry and a number of safety features.

Architect Drazen Cackovic of the firm Savik and Murray on Tuesday detailed for the East Hampton Town Board the latest plans, which call for a total of 18,700 square feet of space. That’s about 7,200 square feet more than the current senior center has between its main building and a separate modular building.

Whereas the current lunchroom is 1,353 square feet, the new one would be 3,000 square feet and include with movable partitions so the space could be separated into smaller rooms so various programs could be run concurrently. The current adult day care program has 655 square feet of space and lacks restrooms with showers, but the proposal calls for 1,133 square feet of space with the requested restrooms outfitted with showers.

In addition to those elements, Mr. Cackovic said, “The key objectives for us are to increase the wellness offerings … and allow citizens in the Town of East Hampton to explore new activities in their senior years.”

The second floor has a large space — again with a movable partition to potentially separate it into smaller spaces — for activities such as yoga, aerobics, dance, balance and meditation classes, tai chi and lectures on healthy living and longevity. Computers for internet access would also be available. The East Hampton Food Pantry, which recently found itself without a permanent home, would have a second-floor home base.

Mr. Cackovic said natural light would be emphasized inside the building, as would safety features such as wide corridors with handrails, wide aisles between furniture, vinyl flooring, anti-glare LED lighting, automatic doors and a large elevator.

“We will in all of the designs go beyond the minimum code accessibility standards,” he said.

Outside, a walking path, patio, rose garden, vegetable garden, gazebo and “adult playground” are planned. The number of parking spaces planned has been almost doubled, from 61 up to 116. A covered drop-off area has been incorporated into the design as well, and separate areas for delivery trucks and bus parking are proposed. There will be charging stations for town-owned electrical vehicles, and solar panels are being considered.

The new building will be constructed on the back portion of the two-acre site on Springs-Fireplace Road that is home to the current senior center. While the town’s initial request was for a three-level building, “a two-story building emerged as the most affordable solution,” he said.

“It is shielded from the road, and the senior adults will be in the back rather than exposed to the road,” Mr. Cackovic said.

Mary Ella Moehler, an East Hampton resident who chaired the committee that in 2014 put together a report recommending, among other things, that a new senior center be built, thanked the board for the update and for its commitment to the project.

“Most of the square footage is going to be added for the senior community center, which is the way it should be,” she said. “I think this is important.”

Resident Nancy Peppard, who is a regional representative for AARP, suggested the town has not followed all of the AARP guidelines in designing a senior center. Additionally, she suggested the town look into a traffic light for the senior center location.

“Springs-Fireplace Road has become industrial with very, very large trucks speeding down that road every single day at morning and at night,” she said. “It is an accident waiting to happen, especially with seniors coming out of the senior parking lot. We had one almost-fatal accident years ago. During construction, this has to be paramount on your mind.”

East Hampton has $8 million budgeted for the project, likely to be funded through a capital bond and offset by revenue from the sale of the scavenger waste site, according to councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. Town board approval is required for the next step, which would allow the architects to proceed to the “60-percent design” phase. The board anticipates voting on it on March 1.

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