New Upton Community Center now open Residents encouraged to use building creatively
The new Upton Community Center is now open. Photo Credit: Theresa Knapp
By Theresa Knapp
The new Upton Community Center at 9 Milford Street (Rte. 140) opened earlier this month and offers enlarged spaces for the town’s library and senior center.
The Upton Public Library is located within the new Community Center and has over 28,000 items to borrow. Photo Credit: Theresa Knapp
“We hope people will come down and walk through the building and see what an improvement it is and how great the spaces are,” said Library Director Matthew Bachold. “And we hope people come up with their own ways to use the building.”
The $12 million project has been more than 20 years in the making. After previous proposals were rejected by voters, this proposal - to combine two town departments in need of more space - started in 2017. After finding an adequate site (a town-owned lot adjacent to the Upton VFW) and passing a very close town vote in May 2021 (a simple majority at town meeting then winning by 80 votes at the election polls), the project broke ground in Dec. 2021.
“I think finding this downtown location really made the project work,” said Bachtold, adding the building was slated to open in January. “We’re on budget and behind schedule which is better than the other way around.”
Before relocating to the Community Center, the library was housed in the Knowlton-Risteen Building and the Senior Center was leasing space at the Millhaus Apartments (that lease runs through 2027).
Upton Town Library
The Upton Town Library portion of the building is 40 percent larger than its previous space. It is an expansive fully-accessible one-floor space with tall ceilings and lovely views. It isfilled with 28,000 items to lend, a children’s area, computer area, soft seating, a business center (copier and scanner), conference room, quiet study rooms, and a class/meeting room. There is access to the playground area where the upper playground is now open but the lower playground will open in a few months after the grass grows in.
Bachtold invites residents to come in, sit down, and enjoy the work stations overlooking Center Brook. “We are ‘food and drink friendly’ so you can bring your coffee or your sandwich from Country Club Sooper and work on your computer and write your next great novel right here at the Upton Town Library,” said Bachtold.
The building also offers a large banquet area or “great room” with a commercial kitchen, a Food Pantry, and the vestibule features bookshelves handcrafted by local artisan Bill Andrews.
Upton Senior Center
The Senior Center and Council on Aging side of the building includes Elder & Social Services, a lounge area with television screen, an exercise room (requires a medical note), and more.
“We’re always going to have a pot of coffee on here so anyone can come in and watch a movie,” said Director of Elder & Social Services Maggie Gundersen. She said the building “is more of a community center than a senior center” and she encourages patrons to use both sides of the building equally.
She said they will continue programs they had before the move but they plan to add more. Such programs include exercise classes, informational speakers, mindfulness classes, medical specialists like a podiatrist and hearing aid cleaning, games, crafts, and multigenerational classes. Social programs include musical performances, birthday parties, and coming up in June is the Sheriff’s annual senior picnic.
ESS facilitates the local real estate tax relief program, medical services in the home, food stamps, fuel assistance, free internet, Meals on Wheels, and more. They provide assistance to adults who are caring for their own children but also need to care for, or find care for, a parent who might live locally or miles away. ESS can help all residents of all ages.
In addition, ESS has a new shuttle bus, funded by a grant, that provides transportation to and from the senior center (a fixed route with one trip in the morning, one at mid-day, and one in the afternoon), rides to medical appointments, scheduled shopping trips, and more.
For information, visit www.uptonma.gov/community-center-building-committee (general information); www.uptonma.gov/library (or bit.ly/UTLmeetingrooms to reserve meeting rooms) for the library; or www.uptonma.gov/upton-center-coa for ESS or the senior center.
The Upton Board of
Selectmen will hold a
formal dedication of the
new Upton Community Center on June 14
at 6:30 p.m. followed
by an open house.
Please RSVP to