Newburyport, Senior Center and Cushing Park

From the emails that I have received it seems that there is already a strong, mounting opposition to having a Senior Center at Cushing Park. (Cushing Park is off Kent Street and is often confused with Cashman Park that is along the waterfront on the North End of the City.)

When people call me about issues that I know nothing about, I try and ask them to educate me. And this was the case when I received phone calls about the Senior Center from “seniors.”

My first question was, why not the YWCA, a community center for all ages (I realize that this is a vast simplification.)

I know in middle age although I enjoy and appreciate “young” people of all different ages around town, actually having them in close proximity for any length of time is a little jarring. Not because I do not like them, I like them a lot, but because basically I am “out of practice” and am no longer “acclimated,” so to speak, to the hustle and bustle of youthful energy. If I feel this way in middle age, I would think that this would increase as I get older. And from what I understand, this is true of many older folks.

My second question was why not the Industrial Park? I like the idea of when I get older of not much traffic and lots of parking and possibly a place for a one level building. Basically, the answer, as I heard it, is that it gets lonely as one gets older and seniors do not want to be isolated from their community.

Actually when I thought about it, I remembered when the library had its temporary setting out in the Industrial Park (thanks to the great generosity of Ed Molin), it felt like I was going out to the middle of nowhere (although that was not the case) and went to the library very infrequently.

Now that the library is downtown, it is one of my favorite places to go, and I go all the time. So I can empathize with how our seniors feel about not wanting a Senior Center in a more isolated area.

This is where I think civics is very, very difficult, because there are legitimate, competing needs among our populace. And I am always impressed when we do find creative solutions or come to difficult compromises, because civics is not easy.

Mary Eaton