Birkwood Village cuts the ribbon

New senior center poised for December opening

City leaders, community members and staff got together at the soon to be open Birkwood Village senior center for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 9. Pictured are Kaleigh Sieck, Executive Director; Fabiola Cervantes, Health Services Director; Tama Mayor Doug Ray, Toledo Mayor Brian Sokol, Mark Holtkamp, Owner; Dorothy Thompson, Culinary Director; Penny Hand, Environmental Services Director; Karin Wobeter, Recreation Program Director. -- Photo by Darvin Graham

Over 100 Tama-Toledo community members got together at the newly constructed Birkwood Village senior center for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 9.

Construction on the large two-story facility has progressed swiftly over the past year and company officials say they hope to begin moving residents in by mid-December.

Prior to the ceremony the public was welcomed in for an open house of the second floor which included a mixture of studio, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom apartments suited for independent living and assisted living.

“We were so pleased with the reception we received from the community. Stacy Hejda, Vice President of Regulatory Compliance said. “ We noticed excitement in the people we talked to and heard comments on how thoughtful the design was. I think a lot of folks that came out to the open house were trying to envision themselves living here and we’re glad they gave us that chance.”

In total there will be 40 independent and assisted living apartment homes as well as the 16 memory care suites. Prices range from $2,000 for 340 square-foot studio to $4,200 for a 860 square-foot 2 bedroom apartment.

Most of the upper level apartments included high ceilings, large windows, spacious bathrooms and fixtures geared towards accessibility.

A small number of the apartments are outfitted with a full kitchen while others include a microwave. Congregate dining will also be available for three meals a day.

Also on the upper level was a large wellness room equipped with exercise equipment, a walking track and mirrors mounted on the wall ready for group fitness classes. Hejda said the company hopes the fitness and wellness services will be a defining feature to set their senior living center apart from other destinations around the region.

During the Nov. 9 event, construction was still underway on the lower level where some of the shared spaces like the bistro and the pub as well as the memory support unit are located.

The company plans to hold another open house in January once construction is complete and residents have had a chance to move in.

With a month to go before opening day, officials said room availability was around 50 percent, though it was clear several families that toured on Nov. 9 were doing so as a means to check out the senior center as a housing option for them or their loved ones.

Attending the ribbon cutting along with owner and developer Mark Holtkamp were several newly hired department heads who will oversee a workforce of 12-15 staff members at Birkwood Village in Toledo. Hiring is still underway but appears to be progressing on schedule.

Speaking at the ceremony were both Toledo Mayor Brian Sokol and Tama Mayor Doug Ray. Each spoke briefly about the encouraging nature of the Birkwood Village development upon the outlook of the community as a whole.

Holtkamp in his speech thanked many of his construction and financial partners for the role in bringing the project to fruition as well as his wife for her support and the Birkwood staff for their support through the early going of the business.