2011-04-07 / Other News

State Spares Glenwood Senior Center From Budget Ax

By Neil S. Friedman

The Glenwood Senior Center was saved from closure as the state budget restored its funding for it last week. The Glenwood Senior Center was saved from closure as the state budget restored its funding for it last week. When the 2011-2012 New York State budget was finished last week, a small portion — $22 million — restored funding to avert the closure of over 100 senior centers across the five boroughs.

When the good news was received, rousing voices of approval were rumored to emanate from the Glenwood Senior Center. Just three weeks ago, members at the center on Avenue H in the Glenwood Houses complex, took part in a rally to protest budget cuts, that at the time projected it would be on the chopping block by the end of April.

Local seniors, politicians and others fought hard for the funding, including demonstrations, like the one on March 17th, and a letter-writing campaign to Albany lawmakers.

When drastic budget cuts were announced several weeks ago, things didn’t look good for more than 30 senior centers in Brooklyn, according to the list released by the Council of Senior Centers and Services, in order to help close a huge deficit. But apparently, Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers, including two from Senator Kevin Parker and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, whose districts encompass the Glenwood Center, as well as from seniors and their supporters, like City Councilman Jumanne Williams, heeded the objections and restored money to the centers.

Isaiah Thompson, president of the Glenwood Senior Center advisory council, was delighted when he heard the news last week. On Monday, he told the Courier, “I am very pleased. I want to extend my thanks to all the officials and supporters who fought to keep our center open. We’re so glad those who make the decisions listened to us.”

Seniors and other advocates were concerned that if the centers, which play a vital role in the lives of the elderly to provide them with nutritious meals, health and wellness activities and social events, were closed, there would be nowhere for most of them to turn for basic help.

“As a senior member of the Assembly Aging Committee,” remarked Weinstein, “I successfully fought for the full restoration of Title XX funds for New York City. This money should assure that Glenwood Senior Center would remain open.”

Williams happily greeted the news for the Glenwood and other senior centers in his district, but had harsh words about the fact they may have been on the chopping block. He said, “I’m ecstatic, but disheartened that senior centers were being used as a pawn to plug budget gaps. They provide essential services that should never be considered expendable…What kind of state are we when we give millionaires a free ride and tell our seniors we don’t have enough money to serve them…”

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