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[Photos show the existing senior center and town court on Traver Road in Wilton; and Robin Corrigan (center) tending to a roomful of seniors. Photos by Larry Goodwin.]
WILTON — Town officials have advanced a two-phase project to replace the Lillian W. Worth Senior Center with a new building located elsewhere.
On June 1, the Wilton Town Board voted to approve the preparation of formal design plans by the Clifton Park firm MJ Engineering and Land Surveying.
In the spring of 2018, construction of a new senior center is expected to begin on a 20-acre parcel of town land off Northern Pines Road.
The second phase of the $6 million project will involve demolishing the existing senior center and putting up a new Wilton Town Court on the same spot with 10,000 square feet of space, plus an additional 4,000 square feet of new offices at Town Hall.
The current town court building also will be razed, and replaced by a larger parking lot.
Christopher Dooley, an MJ Engineering associate, presented preliminary site plans to the town board at the June 1 meeting in Wilton.
Dooley said the new senior center is planned for “a beautiful piece of land,” and that the final design will most likely include a small park and recreation trail.
A much larger town court complex, Dooley added, may qualify Wilton for consideration as a regional district court.
“In today’s world, it’s really not a lot of money,” offered Wilton Supervisor Arthur Johnson, in response to comments from Councilwoman Joanne Klepetar that the project’s price tag had seemed excessive to her.
Klepetar acknowledged that the buildings slated for replacement are “all very dated,” and specifically how the senior center provides a valued social gathering spot in Wilton.
Still, she prefers more review of the costs. “I’m a very frugal person,” Klepetar said.
Councilman John McEachron pointed out that town officials had originally discussed a figure of $8 million to complete both phases of the project.
Johnson expressed confidence that Wilton can cover the costs with a combination of general fund expenditures and borrowing, both of which are made easier, he said, by the town’s lack of long-term debt.
Robin Corrigan, the senior center director, said the Traver Road facility opens its doors two or three days each week. She anticipates a new facility will allow an expansion to five days of operation.
“I love seniors,” Corrigan said, before returning to various activities that she was coordinating among dozens gathered inside the center on a rainy afternoon.