ABOVE PHOTO: These ladies will soon enjoy a brand new facility! (Photo: MLK Older Adult Center)
City Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Commissioner of Parks & Recreation Kathryn Ott Lovell and other City officials joined community leaders and senior citizens to break ground on a new facility for the Martin Luther King Older Adult Center in central North Philadelphia. The 10,000 square foot building will be located at the corner of 21st Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue on the same block as the MLK Recreation Center, which currently houses the Older Adult Center.
“I am so happy to be here to announce the beginning of construction for this beautiful, new state-of-the-art facility,” Commissioner Ott Lovell said. “I want to thank all of the staff, architects, contractors and designers involved with getting this project off the ground, and I especially want to thank Mayor [Jim]Kenney, Managing Director DiBerardinis and Council President Clarke for their vision and tenacity in getting us here today.”
The new facility will feature a large lunchroom and commercial kitchen, a billiards room, a multipurpose room, and classrooms for art, fitness and computers. The construction and finished building will utilize sustainable practices and materials including an energy-efficient HVAC system and lighting. Construction will begin in about two weeks.
“This is a very important event for the North Philadelphia community, and in fact, the entire city,” said Managing Director DiBerardinis. “And, it’s been a long time coming. It takes a true partnership to raise the money and get something like this done. I thank Mayor Kenney, Council President Clarke and all of the partners involved in this project. The community has been waiting very patiently for this day to come – I’m happy to tell you that it’s finally here.”
The total cost of the project will be roughly $4.3 million. Council President Clarke, representing the 5th District which contains this section of North Philadelphia, is contributing more than half of the funding for the project with $2.8 million. The City of Philadelphia, the Department of Parks & Recreation and Project H.O.M.E. are contributing the remainder of the necessary funding.
“This day belongs to the MLK Older Adult Center community, which pushed the City of Philadelphia for a new facility because they are frankly deserving of one,” Council President Clarke said. “The fight to secure funding for this was long and difficult, but thanks to committed partners in the Administration and Project H.O.M.E., we are one step closer to a beautiful, welcoming and engaging space for our seniors. Congratulations to the seniors who never gave up and never questioned their worth. You deserve this and more from our City.”
Two women involved with the center on a daily basis also offered remarks. Rosalyn Cofer, the Director of the MLK Older Adult Center, told the audience of seniors that “without you, there is no me. You have been so supportive, and we’re here today because we don’t stop for nothing.” A member of the community and active participant in the programming offered at the center, said Edith Lollie. “We have been receiving Cadillac service with a Chevy for so many years at MLK. We deserve this nice new building.”