Kevin Anderson, president and CEO of Wesley Homes, welcomed more than 275 people to an afternoon of festivities Feb. 28 at the Pioneer Park Pavilion, marking the much anticipated groundbreaking of Wesley Homes Bradley Park.
Event guests were greeted by Daffodil Festival princesses while enjoying music by the Rogers High School Jazz Ensemble.
“We thought that it was important for this to be an intergenerational celebration,” said Peggy Qualls, Wesley Homes Bradley Park community relations director.
Anderson thanked city leaders, donors and others who caught the dream, helping to raise awareness and support for the new campus over the course of the past four years.
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The new campus sits on 14.5 acres on the south side of Bradley Lake Park, between the Lowe’s store and Group Health/Kaiser Medical Center on 39th Ave SE.
“In terms of location, it scores a 10 out of 10,” Anderson said.
Following his initial remarks, Anderson introduced several speakers who shared their thoughts about what the new retirement campus means to them.
Larry Carney, a future resident, Wesley Homes Foundation board member, Wesley Homes Bradley Park volunteer and pioneer, explained how he and his wife Pat chose their destination home. He emphasized how the deep sense of community they feel here has made an impact on their decision-making.
“I want to be close to my friends,” he said.
An attorney, Carney explained that in his experience, people rarely thought about the future.
“I heard people say, ‘in the event of my death,’ but not, ‘in the event I live.’ We need to face the fact that our health needs will change,” he said. “I look forward to living in a place that is worry-free.”
Describing what he called an incredible turnout, Puyallup Mayor John Hopkins told the audience, “You are community now and you will still be a community in the future when you are living on the hill,” he said, referring to the South Hill location.
Shelly Schlumpf, president and CEO of the Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce, described her enthusiasm from personal and economic business development perspectives.
“Personally, I’m really excited because I expect to live there someday,” Schlumpf said.
She also underscored the importance of having available senior housing to a community.
“One of the top three questions the chamber is asked concerns senior housing,” she added.
Schlumpf explained that she was especially excited that a local general contractor had been hired and for the some 200 construction jobs and later 100 full and part-time jobs that are expected to be created.
For Dan Absher, president and CEO of Absher Construction, this project is personal. Absher and wife supported the new retirement community even before his company were awarded the contract to build it.
“My parents wanted to retire, but there was no place nearby that would help to meet their physical, social and spiritual needs,” Absher said. “It’s an honor to build this facility because it really honors my father and mother. My dad died over a year ago and won’t have the opportunity to live there, but my mom will.”
Wesley Homes Bradley Park will be the first faith-based, nonprofit, full continuum-of-care (CCRC) 62-plus senior housing complex in east Pierce County that will serve nearly 300 residents by providing independent living, assisted living, memory care and eventually skilled nursing on one integrated campus.