Driving toward healthy senior services

Pictured is the van the Lynnfield Senior Center is looking to replace.


LYNNFIELD — The Council On Aging is looking for a new van to help keep senior citizens active and healthy.  

“That’s our goal, to get everyone out of the house. To get up and get out,” said Director Linda Naccara. “That’s good for people of any age, but especially for people who are living alone.”

Naccara presented a proposed budget for the council at a board of selectmen meeting on Monday. The 20-passenger van, which would replace a 2004 model, was the only official request in the budget.

The two buses owned by the senior center on Salem Street give 80-100 rides each week, taking seniors on trips to the pharmacy, market and to doctor’s appointments, said Naccara.

A low-vision support group goes out on quarterly rides to the Perkins School for the Blind, said Naccara, and a group for people who have been newly widowed uses the bus in their meetings on the first Sunday of the month.

Council chairman Fred Santangelo said the 13-year-old van in need of replacement has 140,000 miles on it and no air conditioning.

“It would be very costly and not cost-effective to repair,” he said.

The van’s springs and shocks are in poor condition, in addition to rust in the undercarriage and an exhaust pipe leak. The lack of a rear exit presents a safety hazard, said Santangelo.

A gap in the passenger door allows cold air to enter and provides a warm place for mice this time of year, he said.

He estimated a replacement van will cost in the ballpark of $80,000.

Selectmen chairman Phillip Crawford said the council’s request will be reviewed by Town Administrator James M. Boudreau for eventual inclusion in a final town operating budget.

Crawford estimated the operating budget will be done by mid-March before going to vote at Town Meeting in April.

Leah Dearborn can be reached at [email protected]

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