Delmarva Community Services breaks ground on Intergenerational Center

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff Delmarva Community Services Inc. held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the $12.5 million Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Intergenerational Center. From left are Maryland Delegate Chris Adams; Santo Grande, president and CEO of DCS; William Batson, chairman of the DCS board; Delegate Johnny Mautz behind Mr. Batson; Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford; State Sen. Addie Eckardt; Dorchester County Council President Ricky Travers; Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes; Don Satterfield, county councilman; Donald Sydnor, Cambridge councilman; and Dave Cannon, Cambridge councilman of the Dorchester Banner.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
Delmarva Community Services Inc. held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the $12.5 million Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Intergenerational Center. From left are Maryland Delegate Chris Adams; Santo Grande, president and CEO of DCS; William Batson, chairman of the DCS board; Delegate Johnny Mautz behind Mr. Batson; Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford; State Sen. Addie Eckardt; Dorchester County Council President Ricky Travers; Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes; Don Satterfield, county councilman; Donald Sydnor, Cambridge councilman; and Dave Cannon, Cambridge councilman of the Dorchester Banner.

CAMBRIDGE — Ground was broken in Wednesday’s light rain on a community facility that, according to officials in attendance, is the first-of-its-kind and much needed in Cambridge, Dorchester County and on the Eastern Shore.

The rain didn’t dampen the spirits of anyone who joined Delmarva Community Services at the site of the soon-to-be $12.5 million Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Intergenerational Center, including Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford. The building is the first phase and center of the planned Chesapeake Grove Continuing Care Community near the intersection of Md. Route 16 and Chesapeake Drive in Cambridge.

“It might be a little rainy out there, but it’s a great morning here on the Eastern Shore. It’s a wonderful morning here in Cambridge and in Dorchester County,” Maryland Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes said to attendees. “I’m a firm believer that this particular project is the epitome of what our community and what our nation should be about, which is about helping one another, being together and learning from one another.”

DCS currently offers many services including its community transportation program which serves Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline and Talbot counties with its buses familiar to many residents. DCS also is the sole provider of meals for seniors in the county, both at its facility and by delivery. It’s meals for seniors program reaches Caroline and Talbot as well. DCS, through various programs, also serves the disabled and people with special needs on the entire Eastern Shore including Delaware.

According to a news release from DCS, the new center’s activities will focus on:
• Being active together/Being healthy — Fellowship, meals, exercise, meditation
• Being engaged together/Being needed — Clubs, gardening and exercise, civic engagement, helping each other, cooking
• Being continual learners/Being understood — Classes, informative speakers, library and reading together, current events
• Being happy together/Being accepted — Making and listening to music, making and observing art, drama and performance, travel and learning.

Though the name and mission has changed through time, DCS CEO and President Santo Grande has served the Dorchester and greater community for 42 years.

“We look forward to continuing to grow. We look forward to bringing services to the community. We look forward to serving the people that are underserved and underprivileged,” Mr Grande said. “They’re the ones that we want to serve. … We have a tremendous responsibility and opportunity to do good things for Dorchester County and for Cambridge. As long as I’m here, I’m going to continue to do that. We love our area. We love the Eastern Shore and we’re going to continue to work very hard.”

Mr. Grande said that he started the organization with three employees. Now DCS employs more than 300 people on the Shore and once all phases of Chesapeake Grove are complete, DCS will employ roughly 400 people. He thanked many people including longtime employees, the DCS board and the Cambridge City Council.

“It’s been a great team effort,” Mr. Santo said. “The county council that we have today is one of the most progressive county councils I have ever worked with in my 40 years and I do applaud them.”

State Sen. Addie Eckardt, who has worked closely with DCS through the years, said the new facility is something sorely needed on the Shore.

“We need to come together on this vision as a community because I think it can make a significant difference in our community,” Sen. Eckardt said. “It’s been a long time coming. When we’re talking about an intergenerational center, we’re not just talking about services for our disabled population, our people who have challenges and our senior population. We don’t have assisted living here. We don’t have facilities like we do in our surrounding counties. We’ve worked to bring that here for years and it’s never happened yet. But now we have an opportunity to grab the bull by the horns and move forward. …”
Sen. Eckardt said the second phase of the project will include a child care center which addresses a growing need in the area.

“We’re moving forward with a vision that I think can make a tremendous difference here in our community,” she said.
Cambridge City Councilman Donald Sydnor said the center is a “stepping stone” toward improving the community along with future waterfront redevelopment and other projects in the city. The city contributed $250,000 toward infrastructure, most of which is already in place at the site.

Beyond the first phase, future plans include 87 various housing components for seniors, and two assisted living units with 15 beds in each unit, among other plans.

As the final speaker of the day, Lt. Gov. Rutherford congratulated the many people involved.

“It’s going to add an additional 60 full time and part time jobs and over 150 construction jobs over a five-year period,” Mr. Rutherford said. “That’s all wonderful news for this community. That’s in addition to the countless long-term benefits that the community will experience from this. So today’s groundbreaking is another example of Maryland being open for business and it’s a project that in another way pulls people together, brings people together and continues to change Maryland for the better.”

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.