A Merger is Coming for Larchmont & Mamaroneck Seniors

by Judy Silberstein; pictures by Maria Gallagher

(October 30, 2008) Mamaroneck and Larchmont’s three separate municipalities have agreed to consolidate their community services under one administrator and their senior services under one roof. Mamaroneck Town and Larchmont Village already operate together, but beginning in January of 2009, they will be joined by Mamaroneck Village. In a sign of the merger to come, political leaders and seniors from the three communities attended the 35th anniversary of the Mamaroneck-Larchmont senior program at the American Legion Hall Post 90, on the Boston Post Road, where the group has been meeting since July of 2007.

cakeAccording to Anna Danoy, community services director in Mamaroneck Town, the impetus for the merger began first with a suggestion from a HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) representative that Mamaroneck Village merge its Section 8 housing assistance program with the one run by Mamaroneck Town for the other two municipalities. That segued to the plan to combine senior programs as well, which in Mamaroneck Town are overseen by the same administrator that covers Section 8. Impending retirements would minimize the need for layoffs, ease the transition and still allow for cost savings, said Ms. Danoy.

senior center

Community leaders and senior center members together celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Mamaroneck and Larchlmont program for seniors.

During the Section 8 discussions, merging the senior programs came up, the boards approved, “and I guess, the rest is history,” said Ms. Danoy.

Mamaroneck Town has a roster of 200 senior members, and Mamaroneck Village has a similar number. Attendance varies, but “on a good day” each program draws around 60 seniors. Currently, the Town program has an array of recreational activities, but doesn’t have a lunch program. Mamaroneck Village has fewer activities, but offers a lunch program. Bringing the two together would fill a need in both communities.

Mamaroneck Town has plans to renovate the American Legion building, and even add affordable housing units in an addition above the social hall. But even without modifications, there is room for both sets of seniors.

“The change is difficult,” admitted Ms. Danay. “Maria Gallagher (senior center coordinator) and I are going to be working with the members and the staff at both locations to address their concerns before we actually move everyone,” she promised. “People just need to have patience and faith and it will all work out.”

Ms. Gallagher agreed. “With change there will always be a few hurdles and a few bumps, but I truly believe that at the end of the day both senior centers can benefit from each other.“

“I want everyone to be happy and to go home smiling – and I think they will,” Said Ms. Gallagher. “I’m going to try my hardest to make that happen. I told my group, they just have to trust me.”