CORRECTION – The below story misquoted Dennis Township resident Carol Porter. She asked whether there was a budget for food and trips at the senior center. The story also gave the wrong address for the center. It’s located at 571 Petersburg Rd., Dennisville, NJ 08214.
DENNISVILLE – Dennis Township Mayor Zeth Matalucci told residents attending a township committee meeting that the senior center is not shutting down.
Matalucci, responding at the Tuesday, Nov. 14, committee meeting to a question about the rumored closing of the center, said, “I assure you we are 100% committed to the senior center not closing.”
“I don’t know where these rumors come from,” the mayor added.
Resident Linda Williams, who expressed concern about the senior center being eliminated, said she had heard rumors about it in Wildwood Crest.
The senior center is located at the Dennis Township Recreation Center at 565 Dennisville Road in South Dennis. Its website lists programs Monday through Friday, including yoga, chair cardio, a book club and quilting.
Williams said she joined groups at the center and was very happy with the programs. She said she made a lot of acquaintances there and had no complaints about the facility.
She said there was a lot of “hullabaloo” regarding the possible closing of the senior center and its being a topic of discussion in closed session.
Township Business Administrator/Chief Financial Officer Jessica Bishop said the committee did plan to discuss the senior center in closed session, but that would only be a discussion of programs.
“If there is any change it’s going to be a change for the better,” Bishop said. “I don’t want anyone to think that tonight’s program is to cut back.”
“It’s not going to close,” Committeeman Frank Germanio added.
Resident Dot Merlino told the committee she thought the senior center had previously put out numerous flyers regarding bus trips, but thought there was less promotion of the trips now.
Paul Essig, whose late wife was the director of the center, said there was lower participation in bus trips than in the past. He said the offerings in general for seniors had been reduced.
“There is nothing for seniors no more, and they wonder why no one goes there,” Essig said. “There is no luncheon, nothing.”
The schedule posted on the website indicates there is a Tuesday “Lunch Bunch” at noon.
Another resident, Carol Porter, said she had never heard about food and trips offered by the center.
Matalucci said if there were concerns people should have voiced them to him earlier and he would have tried to address them.
“When Mrs. Essig was the director, that man (indicating Paul Essig) was always in the kitchen,” Matalucci said.
The mayor said a lot of members of the senior center volunteer to help with activities.
Contact the author, Christopher South, at email@example.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.