Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



April 21, 2023



State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) on Friday was proud to join local, state and federal leaders at Colchester Town Hall to celebrate the groundbreaking of Colchester’s new Senior Center. Sen. Needleman joined U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, former Connecticut State Representative Brian Smith, Colchester First Selectman Andreas Bisbikos, Colchester Selectwoman Rosemary Coyle and Colchester Senior Services Patty Watts for a standing-room-only community celebration of the new facilities.

The town’s existing senior center will relocate operations at the completion of construction to a newly constructed 14,650-square-foot facility near Colchester’s downtown, nearly tripling in size the available space there. The new facility will offer a café, game room, arts and crafts classroom, library, conference room and a fitness center larger than 2,200 square feet. Its design is built around strengthening community partnerships and expanding services improving independence, health, wellness and quality of life for Colchester seniors.

“This is about everyone who’s been involved and everyone who’s worked hard to make this happen. Colchester deserves a senior center that serves the needs of this community,” said Sen. Needleman. “I’m excited to have played a small part in making this happen. I can’t wait to visit after the ribbon-cutting and see the facilities.”

“From the first day I took office, I heard about this, and this is going to be a spectacular facility that is going to enable important activities in connecting seniors to benefits,” said U.S. Rep. Courtney. “Clearly, the town and state stood up in a huge way to make sure the funds were available for this project.” Rep. Courtney continued by lauding town and local leaders for their work in moving the project forward and presented them with a United States flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on April 20; it will be flown over the senior center the day of its ribbon-cutting.

Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz said that almost immediately after being elected Lieutenant Governor in 2018, she heard from Coyle, Rep. Smith and Sen. Needleman, all advocating for support for the Senior Center. “What is most impressive is that in January 2022, we announced the $2.5 million state funding for the senior center; since then, membership of the Senior Center has grown 137%, so we know there is huge demand for the services the Senior Center provides,” she said. “The Governor and I wanted to fund this project because we wanted to make sure seniors could be engaged in the community, can be healthy and independent and can stay at home. Since COVID, the need for personal and emotional connection is so important for everyone’s mental and physical health.”

“The senior center project has been a very long journey,” said First Selectman Bisbikos. “In the end, my administration will deliver on this project, come hell or high water. Our seniors deserve a center that they can call home.” Bisbikos described challenges the town faced in the process of developing the senior center project and thanked residents who played key roles in its development.

“This community, these people and the elected officials who have followed this through the years have all done their part to make this happen,” said Selectwoman Coyle, who said the town’s senior center’s development dates back as far as 2006 and thanked former selectmen for their efforts in development. “This vision was our community coming together and building something for its people and its seniors. What an exciting thing for our town.”

In December 2021, Sen. Needleman joined with state and town legislators and officials, including Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz and former Rep. Smith, to celebrate a $2.5 million state bonding grant committed toward the construction of the new senior center.

In January 2023, the Colchester Board of Selectmen approved a $8.625 million bid supporting construction for the new senior center; in a town referendum in 2021, town voters approved a $9.5 million cost for the center.