LAKEWOOD, Ohio — All it takes is a “Home Sweet Home” doormat for the new Cove Intergenerational Community Center, which finally finds all branches under the Lakewood Human Service Department banner under one roof.
“It’s exciting to be here to take on such a massive project during a pandemic,” said Mayor Meghan George. “We are very excited to open our Cove Community Center, the new home for social services. Obviously, it took a while to happen, and we’re glad it’s finally here.
“We have always had human services, aging and early childhood division. Now it puts them all under one roof and really goes in that cross-generational direction where older people can interact with some of the younger members of our community,” she said.
“That’s how we really build community. It will be a true gathering space for all.
The community center is located inside the 18,000 square foot former Cove United Methodist Church, which was built in 1969 and sits on 1.7 acres at 12525 Lake Ave.
Department of Human Services Director Antoinette Gelsomino said aging services previously offered at the Lawther Center (16024 Madison Ave.) and East Nutrition site at Fedor Manor (12400 Madison Ave.), as well as youth services (12900 Madison Ave.), Early Childhood Services (15700 Detroit Ave.) and Family Room East (12400 Madison Ave.) will be consolidated into the Cove Community Center.
“The department looks forward to many new opportunities to strengthen existing collaborations and create new partnerships that support the well-being of our community members,” Gelsomino said.
Not only will the centralized social services department provide a flexible meeting space that promotes connectivity and engagement for families and residents, but it will also become the headquarters for the city’s offsite meal delivery service.
Outside the center is a footpath with a petanque court and a swing.
“Right now we’re focusing on getting into the community center itself,” George said. “We use every square centimeter of space as best we can.
“We will then look at how we provide, modify and adjust the services to have the best impact on our community. The center has an open space for meals, but we are still looking for details. We certainly plan to improve our food delivery and communal dining setting.
The former church property, which the city purchased in 2018 for $900,000, also represents Lakewood’s commitment to adaptive reuse projects.
“Anytime we have the opportunity to keep one of our historic buildings and bring it into the modern era, it’s a win-win,” George said.
“This is just one example of an adaptive reuse project. There’s the old BiRite building on Madison Avenue. St. James School, Trinity Church and the Phantasy/Mack Products building. So we continue to push for adaptive reuse where possible. »
Now that the Cove Community Center is complete, Lakewood also has tentative plans for the land to address stormwater issues in the east end of town with the addition of a 1.5 storage tank. million gallons. There is no schedule for construction.
“When the site was first identified, it was determined that we could potentially be used for underground storage tanks,” George said. “It’s a multi-year project.”
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