Editor:

For well over 20 years the Senior Center of the Chathams has called the lower
portion of 58 Meyersville Road its home. For those who do not know, this is the
same location as Chatham Township’s municipal offices. Fortunately, when we
look out 20 years from now the Center will still have this address as its home.

By now many have heard of Chatham Township’s current plan to utilize the
location as a site towards meeting its previously settled Affordable Housing
obligation. (https://www.tapinto.net/towns/chatham/articles/chatham-township-
municipal-building-to-be-turned-over-for-65-affordable-housing-units-senior-
center-to-be-temporarily-moved
). Several of you have already reached out to me
as the President of the Senior Center’s Board of Trustees and to Julie Reich,
Executive Director of the Center with questions and concern regarding the future
of the Center.

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So, what does the Township’s plan mean for the Senior Center? First, any
relocation the Center would have to undertake (which will be temporary – more
below) would not take place for an estimated 28 to 36 months from now. Second,
the Center already has a team in place that will meet with local organizations to
identify temporary space for the Center to relocate to. The goal is to keep ALL
offered programs intact. When the day comes to relocate – we will be ready. Third,
and perhaps most important, the current Township plan is for the Center to move
back to its current location upon completion of construction of the municipal
building site.

Throughout the years Chatham Township’s Administration has generously
provided the current space to the Senior Center for $1 per year. In light of the fact
that we are an independent, nonprofit organization it may have been less
complicated for the Township to meet this current Affordable Housing obligation
by cutting the Center loose to fend for itself. The 2019 Township Committee and
Administrator Robert Hoffmann insisted that any development of the site include
refurbished space for the Center (including the Mountainview Gym!) for its use.
On behalf of all of the Trustees, employees, and most importantly the clients, I
would like to thank the Committee and the Administrator for this decision. We are
very grateful for their ongoing support of the Center.

For over 29 years, the Senior Center of the Chathams has helped older adults age
in place by providing an enrichment center, door-to-door bus transportation,
supportive counseling, and information and referral services. It is the Center’s
mission to protect and preserve the independence and dignity of a growing aging
population by providing a wide array of programs and services that educate,
empower, and connect participants to one another. Last year, the Senior Center
received 16,000 visitors, provided 1,800 rides on our bus, and fielded over 2,500
phone inquiries for information on a variety of geriatric issues and concerns.

The Senior Center will continue to rely heavily on Individual donations which
account for our largest source of income. Approximately 80% of the Center's
expenditures go directly to the programs that in turn directly serve our older
adults.  Financial support from our community matters so much, and each tax-
deductible gift truly makes a difference in the lives of older adults and their
families. Please visit us at - https://chathamseniorcenter.org/

Jim Connelly
President, Board of Trustees
Senior Center of the Chathams