, Salem, MA


May 9, 2013

Letter: Senior center should be in Willows

To the editor:

I was watching Salem TV channel 15 and was surprised to see the Salem City Council in action. I was stunned to see how little some of the councilors feel about the health and welfare of those who will be using the proposed Senior Community Center. Mind you, that facility will cater not only to seniors but also the young and the middle-aged. ...

Because of the contamination saturated in the soil, that area is known as Blubber Hollow. The proposed site for the new facility not only housed a leather factory but also a Sylvania plant. Everyone who has lived in Salem for 40 years or more must remember the large number of employees that were stricken with Sylvania barilium poisoning, of which some died.

In my opinion, even if they clean up that dirty site, the contamination will return, since Blubber Hollow housed around six factories, more or less. This means all of that area is saturated with contamination. So every time it rains, the rainwater will sink into the soil and find its way into the proposed site. No matter what they tell you, it is a no-win situation.

Now, that being said, let us compare the Boston and Bridge streets site with the center the search committee recommended, on Memorial Drive next to Camp Naumkeag, otherwise known as the Girl Scout Camp on the ocean, next to Dead Horse Beach. It offers all of the necessary parking with no pollution.

I might add that the site search committee spent 14 months studying public and privately owned sites. The Memorial Drive site is within walking distance to the Willows Amusement Park, a popular spot for seniors and all ages. Also, all this with no condominium fees, and the city will own it outright. In the summer months, the trolley runs two trips an hour to the Willows.

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