, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 24, 2012

Senior center to be open longer

AMESBURY — The senior center is extending its hours of operation with the help of volunteers as they prepare to move to their new building in the spring.

The new hours, which begin March 1, mean an additional 90 minutes per week, but plans for later in the year will mean an additional three hours per week.

"Our goal in the fall is to extend Thursdays to 7 o'clock," said Annmary Connor, Amesbury Council on Aging director. "That's when we have a lot of evening programs."

The Amesbury Senior Center will be moving in the spring to the Senator Nicholas J. Costello Transportation Center, which is under construction off Elm Street. Other town offices will also be moving there.

The $5.837 million building is a joint project between the Town of Amesbury and the Merrimack Valley Regional Transportation Authority. Of the total cost, the town will pay $1.5 million for all the interior work, including the walls, wiring and plumbing.

Connor credits being able to extend the hours with the decision to hire a part-time volunteer coordinator, who has revamped the center's volunteer program. The new employee has also been actively recruiting more volunteers.

Along with the new position, the senior center has only two full-time employees being paid with town money. Two other positions are paid by grants.

"We have about 100 volunteers in total," Connor said. "Without the volunteers, the senior center wouldn't run. They are what makes the senior center run."

Connor also credited Vanessa Kahrman, an intern from UMass Lowell, who helped the center update the volunteer policies, created an application form and a reference sheet.

The new hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

The senior center can be reached at 978-388-8138.

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