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Senior Center May be Closed for Weeks

Storm damage from the microburst that smacked Arlington and Edgewood last week caused significant damage to the roof at the Cranston Senior Center. Repairs will take a few weeks.

The to pockets of the city last week caused significant damage to the roof at the Cranston Senior Center.

The roof, which was under repair when the storm hit, was unable to hold against the storm's fury and a large amount of water got through, soaking insulation and turning ceiling tiles into mush, said Acting and Co-Director of the Cranston Senior Center Nancie Paola.

"All these cieling tiles slammed to the ground, we had about three inches of water in here," Paola said inside the building's auditorium.

The damage has forced the Senior Center to remain mostly closed, except for lunch between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day. For many seniors in the area who depend on the facility every day for not just meals, but social interaction and support services, it has been a blow.

The damage has also forced the library system to shut down the for the time being.

The major repairs now required won't be completed by the end of next week, which means residents who rely on the facility will be out of luck for at least two weeks and possibly three in all.

"We had people crying in here today," Paola said. "It's an absolute tragedy."

The damage was concentrated in the auditorium, but the carpeting throughout the building became soaked. Disaster remediation crews have cleaned up most of the mess, but it will take more than a week or two before the damaged is repaired for the center to return to normal operation.

Fortunately, the kitchen was spared. And that's a good thing, since the kitchen churns out meals for 30 senior centers across the state.

"That's right," Paola said with emphasis. "Thirty."

The crew working on the roof secured the roof when they left Wednesday night, but they didn't storm secure it, Paola said. That's because the forecast was calling for the major thunderstorms to come through on Thursday.

The damage to the construction site will be covered by the contractor's insurance policy and there will be no additional cost to the city, Paola said. Additionally, the ceiling tiles in the auditorium will be replaced — something that wasn't part of the original scope of work but necessitated after the microburst came and went, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

The storm also uprooted several large trees in front and behind the building, including one tall specimen the staff and clients loved.

The roof repair was funded through a federal grant, Paola said. 

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