Hadley voters to decide future of new senior center - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Hadley voters to decide future of new senior center

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HADLEY, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

In two days voters in Hadley will have a chance to vote once again on issues related to a new senior center in town as the American Legion fights the project in court.
 
On the agenda are two items that propose to move the center from it's proposed location not far from the current spot, or to strip funding from the project.
 
This all comes as a lawsuit moves forward regarding a parking lot used by the American Legion, but would be lost if the senior center is built.

On Thursday, voters will take up two articles related to the center which is currently at the old Hooker School, which visitors said lacks air conditioning, handicap accessible entrances, has peeling paint, and failing ceiling tiles.
 
"They stopped using it for a school because they didn't feel it was safe for young children so I'm not sure why it was assumed it would be safe for elderly people," said one Hadley resident. 
 
The new senior center would be at a parking lot that's been used for overflow parking by the American Legion for well over 20 years. 

Two members of the legion filed articles that are up for a vote later this week to move the center or rescind the funding.

"The legion is not against the new Hadley senior center, they simply don't want it plopped on their parking lot they need to hold their events necessary to support their building," said the American Legion's Attorney, Michael Pill. 

Pill filed a lawsuit in the state's land court in April. He told Western Mass News the legion has used the parking lot which sits on town land since the '50s and  says that makes the land legion property.

"If I have been trespassing on your land for 20 years and getting away with it the burden of proof shifts to you and I can claim I own your land," said Attorney Pill. 

The $7.2 million 12,000 square foot proposed senior center was approved by voters in town last year. 

Come Thursday, residents can cast their votes on whether the center should be moved to a site in north Hadley, or have the funding rescinded. 

Western Mass News is told the outcome of the vote could also put $3.9 million in state funds in jeopardy for a new library to replace the Goodwin Library.

Attorney Pill told Western Mass News they are set to begin discussions about this lawsuit in land court in Boston next week. 

That could change depending on the outcome of the town wide vote which takes place in Hadley's Hopkins Academy gym at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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