Paving the way

Paving the way

Jewish Service for Developmentally Disabled in final stages of capital campaign

The new JSDD building in Livingston is almost finished.
The new JSDD building in Livingston is almost finished.

It’s almost done.

Construction on the new Livingston building of the Jewish Service for Developmentally Disabled, which began last summer, is on schedule to be completed by the beginning of July.

“It’s fully enclosed,” Linda Press, the agency’s executive director, said. “I’ve been giving construction tours. They’re starting to do some of the landscaping, and we’re in the process of ordering furniture.”

Meanwhile, the organization is in the final stages of its $10 million, four-year capital campaign. “We’ve raised $8.2 million toward the $10 million. It’s the last big push,” Ms. Press said.

That push includes selling dedications on bricks for the pathway that will lead into the administrative floor of the building. The other floor will be devoted to the JSDD’s programs.

Since last spring, the agency is running the activities of its WAE Center — the acronym stands for Wellness, Arts, and Enrichment — virtually, and that won’t end fully when the state permits in-person classes again.

“We want to at least be able to offer a hybrid for people who might not feel well, who might be in rehab, or for whom transportation is an issue,” Ms. Press said. The remote sessions have been “an opportunity for reaching new people who would not otherwise be able to access us.”

Ms. Press expects the agency to move from its present West Orange offices by September. Because the new space is more than double the size of the old, if pandemic regulations require limiting use of the building to 50 percent of capacity, that won’t be a problem.

“Our capacity level is going to change by virtue of being in a larger building,” she said. “Right now we have 3,500 square feet for 60 members and 15 or 20 staff.” The new building is 8,600 square feet.

In June, Ellen Goldner of Mountain Lakes will conclude a three-year tenure as president of the agency. Ms. Goldner also is a past president of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.

“It’s been a pleasure and honor,” Ms. Goldner said.

She enjoyed seeing the community the WAE Center created in pre-pandemic times.

“They were painting, they were doing yoga, they were knitting, they were having book clubs and cooking lessons,” she said. “They were active, they were inspired, and they had friends who they met every day so they weren’t isolated.”

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