Southwick Senior Center van expected in the spring

The Southwick Senior Center is expecting to receive the van in April. (WNG File Photo)

SOUTHWICK – According to Council on Aging Director Cindy Sullivan, the new passenger van for the senior center was ordered last week and will most likely be arriving in April.

In August of 2016, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that they would be awarding $28 million in Community Development Block Grants to 57 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. Southwick and Granville received a combined grant of $900,000 with a portion of the funds to be used for the reconstruction of Veteran Street. That project received $479,000 of funding.

Since the Veterans Street project is now complete and came in $69,000 under the budgeted amount, a line item could be created to transfer the remaining money to a project that is on the Town’s capital replacement list.

On November 13, Erica Johnson of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) presented the program amendment to the Select Board which the Select Board then approved

When the Select Board was informed of the proposed program amendment by Johnson and the PVPC, they had a list of projects and items that fall under the CDBG and chose to upgrade the van for the senior center.

It was decided by the town and Johnson that the $69,000 would go towards purchasing a new accessible passenger van for the Southwick Senior Center. The current van is about 13-years-old and lacks some basic safety measures such as back up cameras and navigation systems, items the new van will have.

The 14-passenger van is handicap accessible and cost $77,120.10 and was part of the proposed program amendment.

“It has all the safety features,” said Sullivan. “I truly appreciate the Select Board and Karl (Stinehart).”

Sullivan also added that the town is looking to either sell or put the current van up for auction in the future. The current van did 44 trips last fiscal year and serviced around 700 seniors.

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