SEVERN, Md. – Governor Moore, County Executive Steuart Pittman, Arundel Community Development Services (ACDS) Inc,. Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel opened the center’s doors on Saturday for a ribbon cutting ceremony and Older Americans Month celebration. The Severn Center will open to the public officially on June 12, 2023.
“Having a space for residents of all ages to gather is more important than ever,” said County Executive Pittman. “I want to thank Ms. G, Kathy Koch and ACDS, the Department of Aging and Disabilities, the Boys & Girls Club, and the entire Severn community for their advocacy and the work they have done to make this project a reality.”
The $16 million intergenerational center features a state-of-the-art Boys & Girls Club, which includes a full size gymnasium and Teen Club; a regional Senior Activity Center that will host educational programs, recreational activities, and classes in art, history, crafts, computer use, dance, and physical fitness. The facility will also include a flexible community space called “The Gathering Place” in honor of Glenda “Miss G” Gathers – the community advocate credited for the center’s initial idea. The project is the culmination of more than three decades of community advocacy.
“I am thrilled that we were able to support the community by bringing their vision to life. We worked with advocates and stakeholders to ensure the community was involved throughout the development process through community town halls, design charrettes, outreach events, and participatory art projects,” said Erin Karpewicz, CEO of Arundel Community Development Services, Inc. “This engagement is a hallmark of the project that shines through the project details.
Arundel Community Development Services, Inc. (ACDS) managed the project on behalf of the County and brought together community stakeholders through a variety of engagement and outreach events to provide input into the planning and design process and contracted with Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects to design the facility. Funding was secured through a number of sources, including the Local Development Council, capital grants appropriated by the Maryland General Assembly, County Community Development Block Grant funds, and a Maryland Department of Aging grant. TMI Contractors is the general contractor and was awarded the contract through a competitive bid process. The public art installations feature images of community leaders including Ms. G and were designed by Art With a Heart and artist Nicole Brooks. In November 2021, community members and state and local leaders attended a groundbreaking ceremony.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony the public met the staff and explored opportunities available to members, their families, and the public offered by the Department of Aging and Disabilities and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis & Anne Arundel. The center will be the county’s eighth senior activity center. Membership to all the senior activity centers is open to adults aged 55 and older and available free of charge. The Department will also manage scheduling for the flexible community space for local community groups to book meetings and events.
Event attendees also participated in a celebration of Older Americans Month. Every May, older adults across the nation are recognized for their contributions to their communities and society. While raising families and building careers, older adults continue to give back to their neighborhoods, serving as volunteers, employees, employers, educators, mentors, advocates, and so much more. Older adults offer insight and experience that benefit the entire community. The theme for 2023 is “Aging Unbound,” which encourages one and all to explore diverse aging experiences and the many ways older adults can remain in and be involved with their communities, and discuss how communities can combat the stereotypes of aging.
“Older Americans Month is an opportunity for our Department to do our part to honor older adults and their contributions to our county,” said Karrisa Kelly, Director of the Department of Aging and Disabilities. “The Department of Aging and Disabilities will continue to empower our older adults to age unbound by stereotypes and provide programs and services that support healthy, independent, and fulfilling lives.”
For more information and updates on the Severn Center visit www.aacounty.org/Severn-Center.