I urge our community to vote “No” on the proposed $6.6 million expansion of the Hampden Senior Center. While I support the renovation and some expansion of our senior center, the current proposal is not a prudent use of our resources.

The selectmen appointed a committee with the charge of evaluating options for renovation and possible expansion of the existing building. However, the proposal suggests a significant departure from this initial plan. The proposed project aims to nearly double the size of the center despite the fact that the Hampden Senior Center is open only 30 hours a week and the population of our town has decreased over the past 25 years. This expansion includes reconfiguring most of the existing infrastructure.

With only 37% of Hampden seniors utilizing the center, it calls into question whether a $6.6 million investment in expansion is justified.

The proposed override article is not a responsible use of taxpayer money. We must prioritize projects that offer the most benefit to our community while being mindful of fiscal responsibility. While supporting our Hampden seniors is crucial, we must ensure that we do so in a manner that is both cost effective and efficient. A “no” vote allows the community to revisit the renovation of the Hampden Senior Center for a more reasonable and realistic design.

I urge my fellow community members to carefully consider these points and to vote against the override article for the Hampden Senior Center construction project, both at Town Meeting on May 13 and at the override election on May 20. Vote “No.”

Thank you.

Duane Mosier