AIA senior center to close

Aging in America, the senior center at 1500 Pelham Parkway South, will shut its doors on Thursday, September 30.

CEO William Smith confirmed that a contract for the sale of the building was finalized recently, to an unspecified party.

Smith said that Aging in America cannot reveal the name of the buyer, but according to sources the buyer is a non-profit that plans to operate a charter school at the location. The building once housed Mother Butler Memorial High School.

Smith said he expects a smooth transition as many of the seniors already are familiar with other centers, and are welcome at Aging in America’s Bay Eden Senior Center at 1120 East 229thStreet.

“Through the months I have had several meetings with our seniors and promised to share as much information as possible once the building went into contract,” Smith said in statement. “As a result, I indicated to the seniors that the last day of operation for this senior center will be September 30, 2010. I encouraged a group of seniors to work with my staff over the next two months as we close the center.”

Smith said that the sale of 1500 Pelham Parkway South would not affect Aging in America’s proposed assisted living facility at 1870 Pelham Parkway South, the site of the former D’Urso Pavilion of Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center and Pelham Bay General Hospital. Aging in America’s financial advisors are in discussion with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to see if there is a financing option that can make that project feasible, Smith stated.

Edith Blitzer, president of the Pelham Parkway South Neighborhood Association, said that she is concerned about the closure of the center. She has man friends who go to Aging in America, and is wondering what they will do next.

“They go there to eat lunch and play Mahjong and I am wondering if they will now be able to go to Bronx House,” Blitzer said. Blitzer said the Bay Eden facility is not near enough, and she does not envision many seniors from Pelham Parkway traveling to that center.

She pointed out that there are already several brand new schools set to open in the area, including two on Bronxdale Avenue and an annex for P.S. 105 at Barnes and Lydig avenues.

“I don’t think it is the right thing to do,” Blitzer stated.

“The seniors have paid their dues. Now they don’t have a place to go.”

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