Letter: Old Town Hall Homes resident expresses concern for redevelopment process, communication with seniors
To the Editor:
There was a town meeting about the tear-down of the Old Town Hall Senior affordable housing in our community room of OTHH on the evening of Oct. 24.
We residents would like the town officials to know some of our concerns.
At a former meeting some months ago, a resident complained bitterly for a long time about how ridiculous it is that they expect 80+ year old people to clean the snow off their cars in icy weather.
One town official said, “I’m 70, I clean my own car and I don’t complain.”
Another member of the board became very emotional to think we didn't’ know he had our welfare in mind and cared deeply about us.
There is a serious lack of communication between the two sides. We residents are very grateful to Darien for having senior affordable housing. We couldn’t live independently in Darien without it, but we do not like the plan for us even though we probably have to accept it.
So far the plan to tear down our housing has cost us four years of anxiety. We feel we are living in limbo. They take poor care of where we are on the promise of the wonders to come.
When the tear down starts we will be moved out of our familiar brick garden apartments — each with a front and back door — to an unfamiliar and as yet known apartment probably not in Darien, probably not together with other residents we know. We will spend at least 18 months there. Then we will be moved back into a building we don’t want.
The huge new building will be three stories on the same plot of ground. It will have twice as many apartments — we don’t know how many for the handicapped. We have not been told many will be affordable but we are each promised one. There will also be full paying rental apartments. We have not been told how many. Each new apartment will have one door that opens into a hallway that leads to the only two entrance exit doors on the ground floor. The building will have two elevators that, like all elevators, cannot be used in an emergency.
The plan is, if the alarm goes off, we wait in our apartments and get sprinkled by the most up-to- date sprinkler system ever until firemen arrive.
There are 20 of us still here and 10 empty apartments. management is not renting the apartments because of the proposed tear down.
In closing, I want to say I have been a regular at the Darien Senior Center, (now senior programs at Mather) since 2004. It is a different world from the one I describe above. Those who run Mather are people who are interested, knowledgeable, helpful and encouraging to seniors. The well-being of seniors seems to be their top priority.
I opted to send this letter to the newspaper because when we had that town meeting here last week, only one selectman came to the first public part.
He said we should call him if we want the latest most accurate news about our apartments. He would not advise us to rely on the newspaper for our information.