Community center to receive $50,000 upgrade

Nov 21, 2018

MARION — Plans to purchase and install partitions at the Benjamin D. Cushing Community Center have been approved following a $50,000 donation to begin the project. 

Chair of the Marion Council on Aging Building Committee, Frank McNamee, approached Selectmen on Tuesday to request approval for renovations to add folding, sound-proof walls to the building in attempt to make it more user friendly.

Friends of the Marion Visiting Nurse Association donated the funds for the partition project for improving the existing space to accommodate the growing number of activities as well as confidential senior consultation space. 

The former VFW building, donated to the town at a previous Town Meeting, was designated as a senior community center in December, 2016. The building was renovated to accommodate the needs of the center, but now issues with space usage have prompted the partition upgrade. 

The renovations require Selectmen approval because of the town’s ownership over the building, but no appropriation of funds was necessary because of the donation. 

“We want to be able to offer more than one piece of programming at a time,” said COA Executive Director Karen Gregory. “As it is, if someone wanted to put on a presentation we have to be very careful at everything else that’s going on.”

According to Marion Recreation Director Jodi Dickerson, the partitions would benefit both the COA and Marion Recreation in a number of ways. 

“This would allow three different sections of the room to be used at a simultaneous time, it will definitely allow us to expand our programs,” he said. 

Bob Raymond, the architect of the project, said that columns and beams would be added to support the folding partitions. He added that the walls are made out of steel and cloth, connecting rooms by handicap accessible doors. 

The renovations would cause temporary closing of the center, depending on the estimated construction time of the different phases of work. Raymond suggested that the renovations could be done by late spring or early summer.