Unanchored

The Anchors, home of Edgartown’s Council on Aging, has outlived its usefulness to the population it serves.

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The Edgartown select board heard from the towns’ Council on Aging representatives Tuesday that due to challenges with The Anchors building, a change of location is necessary. — MV Times

At its Tuesday meeting, the Edgartown select board received an update from Marvene O’Rourke, co-chair of the Edgartown Council on Aging, regarding the findings of the organization’s planning committee.

First established in February of last year, the planning committee for the Edgartown Council on Aging had been tasked with studying and reviewing “How the Council on Aging is addressing the needs of the population [it] serves, and to make recommendations to the town.”

The work particularly looked into how the Council on Aging building (the Anchors) fares when accommodating the increasing number of senior residents in Edgartown.

Ultimately, O’Rourke told the board, the committee has “reached the conclusion that moving to a new location is the most viable option … The current Anchors building [and its] location are restricting our ability to serve the town’s older population.” 

The senior population in Edgartown has increased exponentially, O’Rourke said — by a whopping 28 percent in the past 10 years, which now ranks Edgartown sixth in the state of Massachusetts for largest senior resident population per capita.

The planning committee has been researching how other Massachusetts Councils on Aging support their populations, O’Rourke said, in order to develop and evaluate options for Edgartown. 

Dianne Durawa, a member of the Anchors’ staff, noted that despite a handful of renovations and improvements that have been made to the building over the years since first moving into the location in 1984, including the early creation of a kitchen site, sunroom, and activity room expansions, to, later, a kitchen renovation, introduction of two new handicapped bathrooms, and an information center, the building and its location still brings along a number of challenges.

“We are in a different time and place with issues and needs currently,” she said, “we still contend, with, among other issues, high maintenance of an aging building, traffic problems on Dock Street, and limited parking.” 

These factors, Durawa said, have “made the building difficult to access for many of the seniors of Edgartown whom we serve.” 

“We’ve reached a point where the challenges seem to outweigh what we can offer in the building,” Anchors’ staff member Lyndsay Famariss, said. 

For one, the parking situation at the Anchors is not capable of accommodating program participants, the organization’s five employees, and the VTA senior transport van. 

And despite the “homey” atmosphere of the former homestead building, she said, the structural layout of the Anchors creates a number of obstacles regarding mobility throughout the building, including even accessing the second floor. 

“We’d really like this to be a place where the community feels welcome,” Famariss said, without it being such a major undertaking with “challenging logistics.”

Due to the proximity to the water and associated weather patterns, she said, the building itself is often in need of repair. To attempt to remedy the problems, Famariss said a warrant article has been put forth to help support the cost of a roof replacement, adding that later, the building would need to undergo a series of other repairs from window work to solving significant drainage problems. 

O’Rourke told the select board that the goal would be to solicit recommendations and opinions from Edgartown residents and stakeholders on how to move forward, as no plans have yet been made for a move. 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Regarding the Anchors outgrowing their space to accommodate the increasing numbers of Seniors who have settled not only in Edgartown but island wide, a thought occurred to me, why not look into the Boys & Girls Club. If all goes well they will be moving to a new location which in all probability will not occur for a few years down the road. If so, this would give the powers to be at the Anchors time to look into the renovation cost needed at the Club to work as a Senior Center, and to begin to fund raise for this move.
    Joan Dunayer
    Edgartown Resident

    • The town has first refusal IF they choose to sell. In the mean time we need to keep moving. The Boys and Girls club has JUST started their fundraising campaign.

  2. That was Dianne Durawa, a former director of the COA and current member of the 5 year planning committee who spoke at the Selectmen’s meeting. Diane Wall is the cook.

  3. With the amount of money the old Kelly House Hotel will pay for the property the new senior center should fill the ticket for years to come.

  4. I am very sad to hear that The Anchors must relocate.

    The location is wonderful and the atmosphere will be hard to match.

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