BANGOR, Maine — The Hammond Street Senior Center will close its doors on Oct. 30 in a bid to reduce costs.
Center officials formally broke the news to its nearly 500 members in an email Wednesday afternoon.
The email said revenue from donations, sponsorships, grants and municipal participation had fallen “far short from budgeted amounts” and “severely impacted the financial standing” of the senior center.
“This decision undoubtedly brings truly sad feelings for all of us. However, there were many unsuccessful alternative avenues tried prior to this conclusion, and we all must face this reality,” wrote Executive Director Kathy Bernier.
Bernier told the Bangor Daily News the center would not resume operations until it sells its facility at 2 Hammond St. She said she did not know when that would be.
Officials announced in June that the center’s board of directors had approved a plan to sell the 1911 building and relocate to a less costly facility that would enable them to dedicate more funds to programming for seniors.
At the time, Bernier said the historic building exceeded the organization’s needs and came with increased utility, maintenance and flood insurance costs.
She also cited parking concerns, saying the organization was unable to grow its membership with just 29 spaces in the current parking lot.
Center officials told members in an email that efforts to sell the building would continue and that the center’s board of directors is prepared to move forward with relocation plans immediately upon the sale.
Officials have not said where the senior center might go when the building sells. Funds to resume the center’s operation will be available after the sale, officials said.
“There are many variables that hopefully will soon see us moving on our way toward our future center location,” Bernier said.
The proposed relocation comes as the senior center plans a move designed to increase its membership by attracting younger seniors.
Officials with the private, nonprofit organization would not disclose the cost of running the historic building. Bernier said the organization is accepting donations, but any money received would go toward relocating the center to a new home, not keeping it open at the current site.
Ultimately, the center officials need to sell the building before they can reopen somewhere else, she said.
“We have always lived in a castle when we can’t afford it,” she said. “It’s more than the membership can afford.”
Follow Evan Belanger on Twitter at @evanbelanger.