Sees senior program upgrade with new facility
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
The Putnam County official who oversees programs for the elderly said Wednesday she looks forward to an upgraded senior citizen center in Cold Spring. Pat Sheehy, the county director of the Office for the Aging, said that with improved space, the county could increase the range of activities conducted in Cold Spring.
Sheehy said that among other things in an improved center, the county could offer a better array of wellness classes, such as balance training, and similar activities that reflect the federal government’s focus on programs that provide evidence of results, as well as having a place for seniors to socialize.
According to calendars for September, at the Cold Spring center, the maximum number of activities, at least some days, is four, including shopping trips to Walmart and ShopRite in Fishkill. The maximum at least some days a week at the Carmel Friendship Center is seven; at the Putnam Valley Senior Center it also is seven – including French, crafts, and a “brain fitness”; and at the Mahopac Koehler Senior Center, it is eight – including Zumba, Pilates, music appreciation, art, and ceramics.
Separately, the Town of Philipstown provides some activities for senior citizens, including new exercise classes at the Chestnut Ridge senior citizen apartments in Cold Spring, seasonal luncheons, and weekly mahjong at the VFW building in Cold Spring.
Where an improved Philipstown senior center might be located in Cold Spring remains unclear. Initially, local and county officials envisioned creation of a community center-senior center as part of a multi-governmental headquarters at the old Butterfield Hospital property. If somewhat faded now, that idea remains on the table. “There is the possibility for it at Butterfield. That would be an appropriate site” from the county perspective, Sheehy said in a telephone interview.
Wherever it goes, a new center will cost money, and Sheehy said she is uncertain how much Putnam County might allocate. “It’s very challenging to balance the needs of taxpayers” against those of a particular constituency like senior citizens, she said.
“The funding offered by Mr. Ailes would go a long way toward meeting that goal” of a better center in Cold Spring, Sheehy said. “I think we’ll be well on our way to seeing a site much more amenable to seniors” in Philipstown, who “have been very patient. It’s been a long time coming.”
Sheehy cautioned that whatever Cold Spring gets, the facility is unlikely to be as state-of-the-art as the centers at Mahopac or Putnam Valley. The latter developed using land provided by the Town of Putnam Valley, with help from grant funding and sources no longer available, she explained. “I don’t think we’ll ever see a building as elaborate as that” in Cold Spring. “There’s not a lot of money around for capital projects.” That caveat notwithstanding, “we hope we can get something cooking in the near future” in Cold Spring, Sheehy added. “I’m excited about it.”