Writers defend Northampton Senior Center operations
To the editor:
The Northampton Council on Aging board would like to take this opportunity to respond to the letter Nov. 21 from the duplicate bridge group that meets at the Northampton Senior Center.
It is unfortunate that the public was provided erroneous information that portrayed the center and staff as inflexible, discourteous and unwelcoming to the individuals who play duplicate bridge. We would like to take this opportunity to correct that misinformation and any misconceptions that arose.
The duplicate bridge program is not operated by the senior center. It is organized by a private outside facilitator, who is paid by the group to initiate and oversee games of bridge. This group does not pay $240 per month to use adequate space at the senior center, nor do they pay rent as stated in the letter written to the editor by the group.
This private outside facilitator and the senior center have had a written contract for over two years and within that contract there are established parameters for which duplicate bridge operates.
Since the beginning, the senior center made numerous concessions as well as offering the players more time to play their game. This concession was not addressed or mentioned in the letter. In addition, there was no change or elimination of any playing time for the bridge group when the senior center closing time changed to 4 p.m.
The center provides a wide array and diverse schedule of programs, activities, services and opportunities to Northampton seniors. The center accomplished this through partial funding from the city of Northampton, grants and donations. Center space is well utilized. Scheduling is based on the needs and interests for all seniors, with no single group or program receiving more importance.
We commend the center staff for operating on the premise that, with all that is offered at the center, it is done with fairness and equality for all. The center and staff continue to invite and encourage the public to participate in what the board considers as truly fantastic events at the center. We, as a united board, would like to thank those who continually give of themselves and generously support the center in so many ways.
Michael J. Ahearn Jr.
Robert L. Montague
Michael J. Ahearn Jr. is chairman and Robert L. Montague is vice chairman of the Northampton Senior Center board. The letter was also signed by 13 board members.