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Darien Selectmen Move Shuffle Project Ahead

DARIEN, Conn. – The Board of Selectmen voted Monday night to appropriate $6.979 million to move the Board of Education offices to 35 Leroy Ave. and transfer the Senior Center to Town Hall. Several residents commented on the project, known as the Shuffle , with nearly all agreeing that a new Senior Center was needed but some taking issue with the plan.

Jim McIlree, who raised objections to the plan a year ago , said Monday that his opposition to the project has increased. He complained that the cost of obtaining 35 Leroy is not included in the total cost of the project and said that what was designed as a senior center has blossomed into a community center.

"If we're going ahead with a community center, we should be asking what the needs of the entire community are," he said. "The Senior Center serves a very small percentage of the community, but it is driving the design of what is to be used by the entire community."

Marge Harrington worked to establish the Senior Center back in the 1970s. She stressed the need for a new senior center and praised the project. "Whoever came up with the idea for the Shuffle is brilliant. I urge you not to throw this away. We need a new senior center, and this is the ideal place for it."

Walter Casey said he wasn't sure what he thought of the project but reminded the board of the shaky economy and asked them to keep that in mind when spending so much money. "If you make this decision, you've got to make it going into this thinking that things could get real tough around here again."

Democratic Selectmen Callie Sullivan and David Bayne opposed the project, as they have in the past. The Republicans approved it, and it passed in a 3-2 vote. The matter will go before the Board of Finance and then to the Representative Town Meeting for final approval.

What do you think of the Shuffle project? Tell us in the comments below.

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