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Proposed new Mendon Senior and Community Center on warrant

Renderings of proposed new Mendon Senior and Community Center. Courtesy photos

Requires $13.2 million override, average tax increase $325 per year

At Mendon’s May Town Meeting, voters will be asked to approve the plans for a new Mendon Senior and Community Center to be built at the corner of North Avenue and Milford Street (Route 16), as well as the $13.2 million price tag to fund it.  

The project will require an override, which will need to pass at town meeting with a two-thirds vote and would also have to pass at the ballot box with a simple majority vote. The plan is to take a 20-year bond and hold fundraisers and seek donations to offset that amount. 

At a community information session on March 22, members of the Mendon Senior and Community Center Building Committee said the average increase in taxes per year, on a house assessed at $500,000 would be between $325 and $350 per year. 

If the measure passes, construction would likely begin in 2025. 

Committee Chair Phil Cieply explained that the town has outgrown the current senior center at 62 Providence Street. “Back when they built this, there were less than 1,000 seniors, now there are 1,700 or 1,800 senior citizens,” he said. 

The Mendon Food Pantry, located in the basement of the Mendon Senior Center, should be larger considering the town’s population. Photo credit: Theresa Knapp


Committee member and co-presenter Peg Nogueira explained that the current senior center acts as a town warming station and as an emergency shelter in case of a disaster. She said that, since the building is an emergency shelter, it should have showers, additional toilets, and cots available if needed; it does not have those things. 

She noted the town’s food pantry is in the basement of the building and should be “much larger” for a town of Mendon’s size.

Many community organizations use the building and more want to use it, but they must be turned away for space limitations, overlapping programs, etc. The capacity in the current main meeting room is 50 people, and the upstairs room – accessible only by a narrow set of stairs shared with the stair lift -- can accommodate 25 people. 

The second floor of the current Mendon Senior Center is accessible by this single stairway and stair lift. Photo credit: Theresa Knapp


Nogueria said the current building “is in good shape but is too small, it could be used for another town use.” If the article passes, a reuse committee will be formed for the current building. 

She said the new site will have much safer parking. At the current senior center, there are some parking spots on the same property but the overflow parking is across the street, which can be dangerous for people to cross because of oncoming traffic. 

She explained the committee scaled down its original plans to reach a $13.2 million project that can address the town’s needs related to its aging seniors and the need for community meeting space. 

Nogueria said the 12-member committee explored several options, including staying on the current site and expanding (but the lot size would not allow for an increased footprint and parking) before choosing the town-owned land at North Ave. and Route 16. 

The new center would sit on three acres of the property that used to be an apple orchard, leaving over 20 acres for the town’s future use. Committee members say that site has been tested and there are no contaminants. 

Site plan for proposed new Mendon Senior & Community Center. Source: Mendon Senior and Community Center Building Committee


The new two-level building – which resembles a farmhouse and barn – is designed to last at least 30 years and has room for expansion. It would include multi-purpose rooms available for community use, private offices and meeting space for the staff (which is limited in the current building), storage space, a much larger food pantry, and more. The plan would be to include recreational activities, walking trails (possibly an ADA-complaint trail), and basketball and pickleball courts. It would be highly energy efficient and solar-ready.  

Committee members urge residents to attend town meeting and to stay until voters act on the article related to the senior center and an article related to CPA funds to be used for the project. 

“If it doesn’t pass, I don’t know what we do,” Cieply said. “Our committee says its ‘one and done.’”

The last community information session will be held on Wed., April 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the current Mendon Senior Center. 

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