However, the ramifications from such a move would be huge for the hundreds of seniors who use this facility regularly, the dozens of events that are held there daily, and a staff that requires and uses every inch of the space to plan and deliver programming and services – many of which have privacy and other legalprotections attached.
The senior population is a large consumer of health services, so it would be convenient if the Framingham health department were moved into the senior center.
However, this same departmentalso offers services for children and younger adults. Allowing large numbers of children who aren’t yet immunized, and kids, parents, and younger adults who often have contagious diseases, into a building with a sizeable and vulnerable senior population with health issues is irresponsible and dangerous to Framingham’s seniors.
Security and parking are also important issues for Framingham’s senior population. If the health department relocated to Callahan, an increasing number of visitors of all ages would be entering and walking through the building. Parking is already tight at the senior center during peak times and many seniors have difficulty walking long distances.
Adding so many more visitors and reducing parking would make it confusing and more stressful for seniors, especially those with memory loss and their caretakers, to use the center and discourage them from visiting.
Common sense says having less space to operate would make it difficult if not impossible for the Callahan Center to maintain the high level of support that it does today. In fact, this move could actually create morework for the health department as many of the programs and services provided at Callahan preempt and prevent many issues that the health department addresses for seniors.
Finding adequate space for the health department while the new Fuller Middle School is built is important, but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of Framingham’s senior population.
I urge the mayor to find an alternative to moving the health department into Callahan, such as the old McAuliffe library or trailers used by the school department for previous building projects.
Framingham’s seniors deserve more, not less, support from our city.