Ronald Hugo has lived at the Philadelphia Protestant Home for 11 years, and he was happy to hear some time back of a planned Arts, Culture and Education Center and Gardens.
Staff told him, “Great things are gonna come, Ron. Just hang in there.”
Hugo hung in there as dirt was moved, holes were dug, concrete was poured and a crane lifted pieces of steel structure.
Last week, it was time to celebrate the grand opening of the “ACE” center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours and refreshments.
“Here we are. Thanks for this addition. I and my fellow residents can pursue our passion. This is, indeed, a great day,” Hugo said.
The project took a year to complete and cost $2.5 million. The center consists of three stories and 2,472 square feet.
The Rev. Jack Price, PPH chaplain, blessed and dedicated the facility.
Features include a library with large-print books and computers; an art studio with glass works; a wellness and aquatic center with a heated pool, a locker room and adjacent bowling alley; advanced care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease; an expanded craft room; a fellowship meeting room for religious groups; a courtyard with benches, tables, chairs and a garden; and a pharmacy opening later this year.
The community benefits, as there is a new meeting room, more parking spaces and a private entrance for the wellness and aquatic center.
The Protestant Home, 6500 Tabor Ave. in Lawndale, has 600 residents living in independent, personal care and skilled nursing and rehabilitation rooms.
Anthony Manzo, president and CEO of PPH, said the center will help residents have the highest quality of living, a key part of the 127-year-old facility’s mission statement.
“Living really is an art,” he said. “We have some great artists here at PPH.”
“We are accomplishing our mission on a daily basis,” said board chairman Richard Soltan.
David Hughes, PPH’s vice president of operations, thanked residents for their input, cooperation and patience through the inconvenience. He singled out Helen Staley, who passed away last year, for her love and knowledge of gardens.
Hughes also thanked the Lawncrest Community Association for its support of the project and others over the years.
“It truly is a good relationship. It’s been a blessing for us,” he said.
State Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-2nd dist.) praised the staff of PPH for the care it delivers, adding that the home stands out in her district of 253,000 residents.
“The Protestant Home is the best that I have in the district,” she said.
State Rep. Jared Solomon (D-202nd dist.), who took office in January, said the PPH plays a big role in neighborhood revitalization. He called the PPH a “center of excellence” for opening its doors to the community and providing care for residents.
“I’m ready to move in. Sign me up,” he said. ••
Tom Waring can be reached at 215–354–3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org