By Lisa Capobianco
In just a few years time, 40 percent of the adult population in Southington will be of senior citizen age, according to Mark White, the vice president of Calendar House. With the growing number of senior citizens in town comes a plan to bring additional classes and activities as well as improve space in the Calendar House’s facility.
“The Baby Boomers are outnumbering the kids in town,” said Bob Verderame, the executive director of the Calendar House. “We need more space to exercise our classes.”
Mark White, who also serves as the chairman of the Senior Advisory Board, said the Calendar House administered a 15-question senior survey on the town’s website to determine the interests of older adults. From how often they visit the Calendar House, to what kinds of activities they enjoy to what they think of the facility, about 455 individuals filled out a variety of questions that will help White and his colleagues examine solid information in order to carry out the plan successfully.
“The aim is to get an overall feel of what people would like to see,” White said. “The majority of people come on a weekly basis—we are going to be hit with a lot more members.”
According to the 2010 U.S. Consensus, 7,443 of residents age 65 and over lived in Southington. White said that the majority of visitors who come to the Calendar House do so to attend exercise classes, while others come for creative and educational needs or for social reasons. White noted how the facility would benefit from having an actual fitness center instead of using a dining area as space for exercise.
“We are short of space—we need to provide more facilities,” White said. “It is a big process, but we want to do it right.”
White said he plans to turn the pavilion into a fitness center with the help of state and local officials. Southington Town Manager Garry Brumback said he will include $250,000 to help renovate the pavilion as part of his Capital Improvement Plan for next year. He also hopes to have an additional $300,000 from the state to support the project.
“Senior citizens are very important in any community,” Brumback said. “It is our responsibility to give support they need to have a healthy lifestyle.”
State Representatives Dave Zoni and Joe Aresimowicz, who represent Southington in the Connecticut General Assembly, are expected to approve $200,000 for the Calendar House, according to a press release. The funding will benefit a study on how to best expand the Calendar House, which includes classrooms, a computer lab, a library lounge, a game room, a woodworking shop and meeting rooms.
“I am pleased that I was able to help secure these state funds for Southington’s seniors,” said State Representative Aresimowicz in a press release. “As the senior population continues to grow, we need to ensure that the town has the resources needed to serve and support our seniors.”