There was a buzz in the air around Silver Maples of Chelsea Retirement Neighborhood on the morning of Thursday, August 13 as a small group gathered to commemorate the groundbreaking of the new DeerRidge Villas.
The DeerRidge Villas, a project nearly a decade in the making, will add 16 villas to Silver Maples Retirement Neighborhood. Leading up to Thursday’s groundbreaking was a land swap between Silver Maples and St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital, allowing the villas to be built on land contiguous to Silver Maples’ campus.
Due to social distancing guidelines, attendees at the groundbreaking were kept to a minimum. Featured guests include the Silver Maples Resident Council, Board of Directors, Leadership Team, and one of Silver Maples “Original Residents” who joined the neighborhood in its first year.
Following a solo violin rendition of America the Beautiful by recent CHS grad Thomas Kennings, Silver Maples Executive Director & CEO Julie Deppner welcomed the attendees and gave a bit of background on the DeerRidge expansion. “This project had been the vision of our board for a very long time. They knew ... the baby boomer generation was inching closer to retirement, and Chelsea, Michigan, specifically Silver Maples, had become a prime destination.”
Will Johnson, former CEO of Chelsea Community Hospital and one of Silver Maples’ “Founding Fathers” shared a brief overview of the inspiration for Silver Maples and the path from initial idea to the 1996 groundbreaking ceremony.
Board Chair Sally DeVol took the audience through the more recent steps toward the DeerRidge expansion. The board knew that there was market research (and a waitlist) indicating demand for more villa-style housing; they even had the land. The challenge, of course, was that this land was non-contiguous. “Five years ago, Julie came on board and at that time the board thought ‘what a great opportunity to make our dream a reality.’ Julie got to work and through dialogue and collaboration with a couple of our partners in getting this done -- Silver Maples along with St. Joe’s Mercy Chelsea Hospital, St. Mary’s Church, and IHA ... we are standing here today ready to embark on this beautiful project. We have all of them to thank.”
Additionally, Andy Shmina of AZ Shmina Construction Company and Jan Culberson of A3C Collaborative Architecture talked through the next steps of the project. Though Covid-19 meant planning took a different form, through Zoom meetings and emails, designs were finalized and the project is still set to be complete by summer 2021.
The short program closed with ceremonial shoveling done by the board, leadership team, and resident council. “There is such a high demand for independent senior living in our area and our new DeerRidge Villas will complement the current living options at Silver Maples of Chelsea,” says Deppner, “We are excited to bring in new residents who are active, vibrant and independent. The project is a wonderful addition to Silver Maples and the entire Chelsea community!” Visit the Silver Maples Facebook page to see additional photos from the event.