DCS breaks ground on major expansion

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, left, was joined by other government officials and guests at a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for Delmarva Community Services’ (DCS) Chesapeake Grove Intergenerational Center in Cambridge. He presented a certificate to DCS President/CEO Santo Grande, center, and DCS Board of Directors Chairman William Batson.

CAMBRIDGE — Delmarva Community Services, Inc. (DCS) leaders and supporters broke ground Thursday on the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Intergenerational Center, the focal point of the Chesapeake Grove Continuing Care Community.

The facility will offer state-of-the-art senior and intergenerational services to the region, and is the first of its kind on the Eastern Shore.

Among the dignitaries at the event was Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford. He was joined by Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, State Senator Addie Eckardt (R-37), Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-37A), County Council Member Lenny Pfeffer (District 4), representatives from the offices of Democratic U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and other state and local officials.

Though infrastructure and preliminary work has been done on the site, actual construction was delayed after additional funds were needed.
“I’m happy to say it’s finally come to the point of construction,” DCS President/CEO Santo Grande said.

It looked ready to go last year, but the price went up.
“All of a sudden, the tariffs came in,” Mr. Grande said. “In one fell swoop, construction costs went from $10.2 million to $11.3 million.”

The project on Chesapeake Drive beside the current DCS building will replace DCS’s existing senior center. The new building will give seniors more choices in programs, services, clubs and classes made available in small group settings, and including young children.

The job has the support of the administration in Annapolis. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford attended the groundbreaking ceremony, and said he had insisted on putting state funds into the project.

“We’re looking forward to transforming this site,” he said.

Noting that there will be about 60 full- and part-time jobs at the center, and about 150 construction jobs, he said there are other goals involved. Lt. Gov. Rutherford said the Intergenerational Center can play a role in his desire to create an “off-ramp” to long-term poverty.

“We’re working very hard to see if we can disrupt that,” he said.

Work on the center is expected to be completed in 18 months. The site will then add three housing units for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Each building will contain approximately 29 one- and two-bedroom units featuring kitchens and laundry facilities, including some units with washers and dryers.

The apartments will provide residents immediate access to the services and facilities within the Intergenerational Center and will have easy access to the Delmarva Community Transit network.

The third stage will bring two senior assisted living buildings to the site. Each will have 15 units for residents who need a higher level of assistance but do not require nursing home care.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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