Selectmen consider expanding Senior Center parking lot

Jun 6, 2019

ROCHESTER — Rochester Selectmen are considering a $200,000 parking lot expansion between the Senior Center and Dexter Lane Ballfield that would clear four acres of trees to add 100 extra spots, giving both community groups expanded capacity for events.

The Board of Selectmen met with Sharon Lally, Director of the Senior Center and David Hughes, the Parks Commissioner to begin discussions on expanding the Senior Center parking lot. 

The Senior Center currently hosts large meetings, elections and other community events, but Town Counsel Blair Bailey explained that the senior center has never had the parking capacity that it needs for that. The Parks Commission is looking to add a new grass soccer field, and negotiates for a building that would allow teams to practice all year round. Hughes explained that the Dexter Lane park is the only tournament-approved field in the tri-town, and that it is currently completely booked for the season. 

Jeffrey Eldridge even said that he has to mow around teams that are playing on the field, because there isn’t enough time to schedule mowing otherwise. 

The groups hit a snag right away in the June 6 working meeting when they realized that the land was owned by the Town of Rochester, but they didn’t know who controlled the land within the town. 

“I wouldn’t want to see anything done until we know who is in control,” Hughes said. 

The proposed plan for the parking lot would clear about four acres of trees between the Senior Center and Dexter Lane park. The lots would include about a hundred spots, lighting, islands and a sidewalk, a design that would cost around $300,000.

The group also discussed putting a more temporary lot to reduce the project’s cost. That lot could be used as an overflow parking lot for the Senior Center. 

Hughes, Lally and the Selectmen plan to meet again in July to further discuss the project. Bailey promised to look at the deed on the land to see who has control of the area in question. 

The group’s goal is to bring the issue before voters at the Special Town Meeting in the fall.