A plan to find solutions to the crowding at the Orchard Park senior citizens’ center led two speakers to offer differing points of view during the public comment section of Wednesday’s meeting of the Town Board.
“How many sardines can you stuff in a can?” said Tom Pieczynski, who is serving on a task force set to report on its recommendations about how to better serve senior citizens, at 5:30 p.m. on April 16.
The popular Linwood Avenue senior center has 7,500 square feet and 27 parking spaces – not enough for the 100 or more people who come for daily activities which range from luncheons to exercise.
Even the pool room isn’t big enough to play the game without hitting the wall with the cue, said Pieczynski.
“I have a pool table in my basement with more room than that,” he added.
As he spoke about the need for a bigger center, Piecyznski used up the five-minute time limit for audience members.
He compared the local senior citizen population to the town’s schoolchildren: The town has a $200,000 budget for its 9,500 seniors, yet spending on the smaller student population is in the millions of dollars.
“What’s wrong with this picture?” he said.
When he was finished, Kathryn Gorkiewicz stepped to the microphone to talk about her lack of interest in a center.
“I’ve never gone there,” she said. “I don’t care to go there.”
It’s important to get an accurate count of people who want to use a senior center, she said.
“You need to know the real numbers,” Gorkiewicz added.
After the meeting, Orchard Park Supervisor Patrick Keem said he has been struck by how the well-used center needs some kind of alternative to its limited parking and space.
“I parked two blocks away last time I went to a meeting there,” he said.
Also during the meeting, the board rescheduled a public hearing for the Orchard Park Soccer Club’s plans for a training site at the former Quaker Stables, 4760 Freeman Road. It will be held at the May 7 board meeting.