To the editor:

In 2009, the residents of the Town of Rockport voted to designate the building at 58 Broadway as a Community House for use by the general community and the Rockport Council on Aging (COA). Since then, the COA, an agency of the Town of Rockport, has expanded its own domain.

It has diminished access to other community groups including the Rockport Garden Club which has used this facility since 1929 (The Garden Club only requires five or six Mondays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. per year).

It is my opinion the will of the people is being ignored, and if this trend is not reversed, the Community House will become exclusively a senior center. Giving one special-interest group total control of a resource intended to be shared with other community groups is to invite the skewing of its use toward the interests of that controlling group.

The squeeze started about 10 years ago when the Rockport Garden Club was excluded from using a room in the Community House because the COA wanted to use it for a bingo game. Later the use of the kitchen was denied by the COA.

Now the COA, with town-approved control of Community House facilities, has forced the Garden Club to move its traditional Monday meeting day to Friday ostensibly to accommodate a mahjong group. This slow process of squeezing others out seems to be related to the COA’s disappointment with the vote of Rockport’s residents in 2010 to designate the entire building not as a senior center but as a community house.

The Garden Club is not the only group that has been denied use of the facilities. A recent post in Rockport Stuff by Joseph Stiliano states that when he and others voted to support the building’s renovation, they expected it to be available to all. It seems that a managerial error has been made by the Board of Selectmen.

By its actions, the Council on Aging is not only ignoring the will of the people. It is also rejecting its own mission statement and designated duties. According to the COA mission statement the organization’s goals are: “To design, promote, and implement services and programs that directly benefit our senior community. The COA serves as the focal point for Rockport seniors and their families in a safe and friendly environment.

The Garden Club, with membership of 198, of which more than 90% are over 60 years of age,wants to know why the COA is impeding instead of promoting and implementing Garden Club programs and services which directly benefit Rockport’s seniors and the entire community.

Lois G. Muzio,

Rockport

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