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Woodbridge “Senior Café”

Woodbridge “Senior Café”

Woodbridge is a community that values open space and limited development. The Toll Brothers may have presented a feasible proposal but I would guess it would never pass referendum given the wants of the voters in this community.

We may be sitting on a unique and emerging development opportunity for the community. I have been putting an idea forward (with mostly good reviews) with residents of various ages. There has been a growing trend in this country and abroad evolving around the development of Senior Center ‘Cafes’ which have community multigenerational use.

Historically, senior centers have been places where only ‘old people’ go to have lunch and play cards in what is often a gymnasium or old school cafeteria. To remove this stigma communities are developing upscale senior ‘cafes’ which the entire community can use. They help bring the community together to just come and hang out. Seniors today are living longer, healthier and more active lives than ever before. The County Club of Woodbridge would be an excellent ‘destination location’ for this type of community building. There is golf, tennis, pool, and locker room facilities already available. Activities may include card rooms (bridge, mahjong, and canasta), book and reading areas, water aerobics, and senior morning outdoor lap swim, yoga and wellness classes, pool tables. A nice dining area with windows overlooks the golf course. The outdoor area can be used for a community recreational facility in summer months. Increased traffic through the building may promote pool and golf membership. The building can also have rooms for community functions (scouts, town meetings, celebrations). I have seen firsthand the Oak Lane golf and tennis experience resurgence in memberships with capital improvements.

We need to look at the concept of ‘town centers’ in a broader sense given our current community layout. Our wooded community is very spread out and will most likely remain as such. We will need to create community ‘centers ‘for gatherings. The Country Club of Woodbridge is a mere 4 minutes by car from the town library if you drive slowly.

This idea leaves open the future prospects of selling the golf course or a parcel of the land to a private party while still maintaining the integrity of the buildings and surrounding structures.

The town is going to have to spend money to make money. Returns or profits may not be realized in the near future depending upon the economy. The property, if given a function and maintained, has the potential to be a huge asset in the years to come.

The Board of Selectman should consider and evaluate this idea. Donations from area benefactors can often be obtained for these projects. Parents with young children want continuity for their families. People want a place that they can return to year after year to develop relationships within the community. Perhaps this letter will be read by someone who can brainstorm this idea into an even better idea for the community.

Laura Speranzini

Woodbridge Resident

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