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Groundbreaking on the new Severn Intergenerational Center to begin September 2021

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman's team has revealed plans for a new intergenerational center in Severn. It will feature a full size gymnasium, a computer lab, and classrooms to serve as a senior center and a Boys and Girls Club. Construction is slated to begin in September of 2021 for the 27,000 square foot complex.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman's team has revealed plans for a new intergenerational center in Severn. It will feature a full size gymnasium, a computer lab, and classrooms to serve as a senior center and a Boys and Girls Club. Construction is slated to begin in September of 2021 for the 27,000 square foot complex. (Murphy and Dittenhafer)

Large gatherings — once a part of everyday life at community centers, schools and gyms across Anne Arundel County — now seem foreign and far off due to the coronavirus pandemic that upended everyone’s lives.

But eventually, large gatherings will return and there will be a new option in Severn in the coming years . County Executive Steuart Pittman’s administration has revealed plans for a $13 million intergenerational community center in Severn near Van Bokkelen Elementary School.

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Construction is slated to begin September 2021 for the 27,000 square foot complex which will serve as a Boys and Girls Club and a senior center with a regulation size gymnasium, food pantry and classrooms, officials said. It will take roughly two to three years to complete.

Of the roughly $13.5 million total costs of the project, officials have identified sources for $11.5 million including portions of the slot machine revenue from Live! Casino, Community Development Block Grants, state capital grants and a state Department of Aging grant.

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Pittman said he hopes it will be able to serve the community for many decades and its completion would be a key accomplishment of his administration.

The new community center will serve children from Meade Village, Pioneer City, Sill Meadows, Orchards at Severn and Spring Meadows, and officials said they are considering transportation options for children traveling to the center. This area of the county is considered to be a food desert, where immediate access to groceries is limited, and where there are large populations of Black and Latino residents.

The Boys and Girls Club will prioritize character building, academic success and recreational success, said Lisa Lindsay-Mondoro, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

Pam Jordan, director of the Department of Aging and Disabilities, said the senior center will focus on serving elderly members of the community, people with disabilities, and anyone who wishes to plan for their future.

Arundel Community Development Services Director Kathy Koch said there will also be a computer lab for classes, learning center, and fitness center and health lounge.

Bishop Antonio Palmer of the Kingdom Celebration Center in Odenton emphasized the importance of life skills classes which will be able to take place at the new center. Specifically, workforce development classes, financial literacy classes and classes that help residents learn pathways to homeownership, he said.

Councilwoman Sarah Lacey, D-Jessup, said she’s excited to see the project slated for her district. When she was first knocking on doors in the community during her campaign, it struck her as a community that was built to keep people apart and away from each other, with no place even suitable for an indoor public meeting.

“I don’t think we would build this neighborhood like that today, and we should do something to make it better,” Lacey said.

She said she hopes the voices of the diverse community will be heard in the planning process.

Community members have been pushing for the center for more than two decades, Pittman said. This is one of the pandemic video town halls he most wishes could have been an in-person town hall, because of the community impact the project will have and the level of investment from constituents, Pittman said.

During his campaign, he met a woman he called Mrs. G, who said she had trouble trusting politicians, but if he was able to make the center happen he would have done something meaningful for the west county community. He said he has a poster drawing of her dream facility still duct-taped to his office door in the Arundel Center.

“I can’t say that the plan we’re going to reveal looks exactly like what you drew, Mrs. G, I know you’re out there, but it’s got all the elements, it’s got all the rooms and most importantly it’s got the gymnasium that you drew.

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