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Commissioner Seeking Atrium, Solar Power at Senior Center

Arnold Schwartz, chairman of the Commission on Aging, is always thinking of new ideas. Schwartz is hoping some new grants will come in that will help the commission look at the possibility of having an atrium and a solar greenhouse at the New Britain Senior Center on Pearl Street.

“It’s all a matter of dollars,” said Schwartz. “The back of the building is facing south and would be perfect for a solar greenhouse.”

The first step is to raise funds to hire an architect for the projects.

“I’m going to keep checking for grants. There must be one out there,” he said. “Otherwise maybe we can do fundraisers. It will cost quite a few dollars though.”

The atrium is planned for the center area of the building. Presently quite a few plants like tomatoes, herbs and flowers are grown by seniors in the spot. It is also used by the staff for grilling during the summer cook-outs.

“Everyone uses what is grown there. Some food like tomatoes is used in the kitchen,” said Schwartz. “Others are given out to the seniors.”

Mike Karwan, senior center director, said the plants can often be found placed around the center as decorations as well.

“People are telling us the configuration of the area may be difficult to enclose,” said Karwan. “There may be problems with drainage and snowfall. We need experts.”

But, Karwan believes the seniors would make good use of an atrium.

“It’s a very active group. They would like that,” said Karwan. “It would be excellent to have a program like that for our folks.”

And solar energy would be a big help to everyone.

Solar power would help defray costs, added Karwan, and that’s always a plus.

“I’ve been working on this idea for a couple of years,” said Schwartz. “I make it part of the commission’s plan. I’m always trying to think of something good for seniors.”

So what idea would be next at the senior center?

“I’m thinking we could add on an exercise pavilion,” smiled Schwartz. “Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Anyone willing to help with the plans is invited to attend a commission meeting. The Commission on Aging meets the first Monday of each month at the senior center.