Head of Chester Clothes Closet Expresses Space Concerns

By Alex Malm

The Chester Board of Selectmen heard from Terry Kennett, a volunteer Coordinator for Chester Clothes Closet, during their Nov. 10 meeting about some concerns she wanted to discuss and see how they can be resolved.
Kennett said she feels the Chester Clothes Closet is being treated differently than the other users inside the annex.
She explained in the beginning of September they received an email from Facilities Director, Corinna Reishus, about items that were being stored in the hallway that needed to be moved. Kennett said they were moved the next day.
On Sept. 19, they received another email from Reishus with a report from the Fire Department about issues that needed to be addressed.
Kennett said what was in their control was addressed in a couple of days.
It was explained by Kennett that there were other things being stored in the hallway including old ovens and things that were stored in the boiler room that are owned by the town.
Kennett said that on Oct. 4, they had a walkthrough with the fire department to look at the area along with Town Administrator, Debra Doda, a representative from the Scouts, Board of Selectmen Chairman, Chuck Myette, and others.
It was explained some things were pointed out that they needed to address including removing boxes of hangers from the boiler room. She said they haven’t received a written report from the walkthrough yet.
Since then, Kennett stated they received an email stating they had to correct what was already corrected, and they also received an email from Doda on Oct. 31 saying they had too many clothes in the room and maintenance couldn’t go in to clean it.
Kennett stated they feel they are being treated differently than the other groups that are using the annex.
“Basically it feels like the clothes closet is being singled out,” said Kennett.
Kennett told the Board of Selectmen they have been in the annex for 12-years and have been seeing more and more guests come as times get difficult for people.
“The average is 30 guests pretty much every time we’re open,” Kennett said.
She said they expect over 2,000 guests to be served by the end of the year.
Kennett explained that when the Police Department is no longer using the storage room for tires, she is hopeful they will be able to use it to store some of their inventory.
She explained they usually get a lot of donations twice a year when people go through their closets.
“We really need more space actually,” said Kennett.
Myette, after doing the walkthrough, agreed with the assessment about needing more space for the organization.
“They could use more space without any question,” said Myette.
No decision was made during the meeting about whether more space could be allocated for the clothes closet.
It was agreed the Clothes Closet would be able to do their own cleaning going forward, which is what they did before the pandemic.

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