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The Beautiful new building in West Groton. commonly called the Senior Center, has been "re-branded" by some on the Council on Aging as "The Center" and by others as "Groton Center."
     COA member Peter Cunningham explains that the name was chosen because it "will be open to a wide variety of community organizations that may want to use it." He explains, "The need for this type of space was identified during the needs assessment and was part of the presentation at Town Meeting when the project was approved."
     We understand and support the idea of finding a name reflecting the building’s greater purpose and mission – but calling it "The Center" [or worse, "Groton Center"] is misleading because the name, The Center, refers to another section of town.
     Downtown Groton is known as The Center because it is the seat of government, Police, Fire - where most commercial activity is conducted. To call a building located in West Groton, "The Center" is plain silly because its so confusing.
     No matter how much you say it, no matter how much you insist on it, The Center is not in West Groton. This confusion, we believe, will make it unlikely that calling this building "The Center" will ever stick. Instead they will keep calling it the Senior Center to distinguish it from the area around Town Hall in THE CENTER. COA staff will probably wage a rear guard action to correct everybody until they finally give up and just call it "The Senior Center" like everybody else. There will likely be a large sign calling it "The Center,” sowing confusion for years to come until someone, finally, has the brilliant notion to change the sign to read "Senior Center."
     But perhaps there is a way to name the building that would make its mission clear while giving it a separate identity, an identity that everybody in town and especially West Groton residents would welcome enthusiastically.
     West Groton has lost many of the institutions that once provided its signature, independent, working-class identity. We believe that choosing a name honoring that identity and the close community of that not-so-long ago era, would be welcomed by everybody in town and would serve as a commemoration of the West Groton spirit, a spirit everyone acknowledges and appreciates, an important part of Groton identity.
     The COA should consider naming the Senior Center "Sherwin Center" in honor of the Sherwin brothers, Winnie and Lonnie, and their sister-in-law, ‘Sis,’ who ran the Clover Farm Market in West Groton Square for more than 70 years, serving as a lunch stand for Leatherboard workers and a market for the nearby residents as well as a gathering spot to discuss town politics. Their Clover Farm Market "In the Square" was a symbol of West Groton pride, community and solidarity and its loss has been keenly felt.
     Why not honor an important and cherished part of West Groton history by keeping alive the name of three people whose service was part of the social glue that made West Groton a great place to live? Their example would be an inspiration to the mission and purpose of the building that would bear their name.
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