For the second week in a row, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has announced he’s saved a senior center from closing —and a third one is expected to be announced next week.
On Tuesday, Avella met with members of the College Point Senior Center, a satellite of the North Flushing Senior Center, to tell them that their worst fears have been allayed. He presented the center with a $100,000 check from the taxpayers, which is expected to keep the facility open for at least two years.
Betty Farone, center director, told the Chronicle that it has been open for 22 years. There are 130 members with about 80 turning out for programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
“For some seniors, this is the only outlet they have to be with other people,” Farone said. “It’s a wonderful group of people, so gracious and so caring about each other.”
She said members enjoy playing cards, exercising, having parties, listening to speakers and going on trips.
“These centers are so greatly needed for our seniors who worked so hard to make this country great,” Farone added. “We thank Senator Avella from the bottom of our hearts for this funding, which is an immense help.”
Avella said the funding has been a top priority for him since he was elected three years ago: “I am very glad that I was able to finally accomplish this vital goal. We cannot allow our seniors to be left without a center which helps them remain active and vibrant.
“Some of these senior centers have been in operation for several decades and it was not an option to let them close their doors,” he added. “Fortunately, they will no longer have to think about that for years to come.”
Last week, Avella presented a similar check for the same amount to the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers and Civic Association Senior Center at the Whitestone Armory. It had been expected to close in June if funding wasn’t obtained.
Next week, Avella has promised to hold another presentation at the North Flushing Senior Center at the Mitchell Linden complex. The two North Flushing facilities were expected to close by the end of the year without financial support.
He indicated funding area projects such as the senior centers was one reason he recently joined the Independent Democratic Conference, a small group of Democrats that with the Republicans make up the majority coalition in the state Senate.
Avella was able to secure the funding from the recently passed state budget.