Six seniors stuck in clubhouse elevator

GUILDERLAND — Six women participating in a Guilderland Senior Center program were stuck for over half an hour in an elevator on Friday, March 1, and had to be freed by the Guilderland Center Fire Department, according to Mary Ann Kelley, the town’s coordinator of senior services.

In 2016, the town moved many of its senior programs from Guilderland’s town hall half-a-mile west on Route 20 to the former Bavarian Chalet, where the town was given new and rebuilt space created for the purpose by the developers of Mill Hollow, just off Western Turnpike near the town hall.

Mill Hollow was originally planned as a senior community but — amid difficulties in getting financing for senior-related projects — turned from an original plan for condominiums for those aged 55 and older to apartments with no age restriction. Owner James Verseput and builder Buck Construction both told the town board in 2016 that the floundering project would fail if the age restriction were not lifted because, they said, the market had soured for senior housing.

The town’s senior center at 141 Bavarian Way is being repaired, so Sunrise Management offered the use of the facility's clubhouse, according to spokeswoman Heather Schechter.

Kelley said that that was correct. She said that a sprinkler head burst in the senior center in the cold weather, causing water damage. The repairs took about a month and have since been completed, she said.

On March 1, the women using the clubhouse, had been heading downstairs at about 10 a.m. after an exercise class, Kelley said, when the elevator got stuck between two floors. The building is two storeys tall, built into a hill, she said, and the clubhouse is a large, spacious room on the upper floor. The senior center occupies the lower floor.

Normally the seniors would not be using the elevator at all, but were using it only because Sunrise had offered them use the clubhouse space, Schechter said.

The problem was, Schechter said, that the elevator is not meant to hold six people.

“The elevator works as it was supposed to,” Schechter said. “Too many people got into it at once.”   She added that the seniors are now finished using the clubhouse.

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