St. Michaels Community Center Opens Renovated Building

Proclaiming that “this new facility can and will support not only the enhancement of our existing programs, but their expansion as well as the development of a wide array of new programs and activities,” St. Michaels Community Center Board Chair Lori Morris led a dramatic, emotional ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official opening of SMCC’s newly renovated building.

The highlight of the event was the remarks of SMCC Executive Director Patrick Rofe, who provided a preview of the expanded programming that will be possible in the new building:

• SMCC will soon launch a new Culinary and Hospitality Workforce Development program. That program, which has been developed in careful consultation with local restaurateurs, will be in addition to the existing Community Café and Community Pantry, which serve more than 2,500 meals each week to those in need.

• Over and above an extensive schedule of Youth Programs, SMCC will soon roll out a new, focused, Program for Youth Entrepreneurship.

• An expanded Healthy Living program, run in conjunction with the Talbot County Health Department, will address chronic health issues such as diabetes.

Rofe also emphasized that the new facility will support “far more interaction with the community,” noting that he “looks forward to many other organizations using our building for their programs and projects.”

Current and former SMCC Board Members and staff joined local officials, SMCC program participants, and dozens of others in celebrating the conclusion of a three-year-long effort. Immediate Past Board Chair, and SMCC Campaign Committee Chair, Langley Shook recognized and thanked some of the many people and organizations whose contributions made the renovation possible, including the Town of St. Michaels, which was represented by Town Administrator Rob Straebel; key donors such as Tracy and Scott Wagner; Project Architect Mark McInturff, FAIA; the Reverend Steve Mosher and Christ Church, which generously provided working space to SMCC during the renovation; Landscape Designer Jan Kirsh; and the project’s General Contractor Harper & Sons, Inc., which was represented by Vice President Benson Harper.

Introducing Shook, Morris noted that the project was “too large for any one person to have carried on their own,” but “at the same time, it is profoundly clear that the renovation would never have been completed without Langley Shook.

“Generations of SMCC clients and program participants will have Langley Shook to thank for his efforts to strengthen this vital Center,” Morris said, adding “Every person trained in this Center, educated in this Center, entertained in this Center, and supported by the programs of the Center is in Langley’s debt.”

After being introduced by Morris, as “a true champion of this project, and an indispensable trouble-shooter when, well, trouble needed to be shot,” Maryland State Senator Johnny Mautz focused his remarks on the importance of SMCC to the town of St. Michaels. He invited all those in attendance who had gone to St. Michaels Middle or High School to join him, as he presented a formal Senate Proclamation to the SMCC Board. “This is not just an official event, it’s a party,” Senator Mautz said, adding his personal thanks to all who “made this vision a reality.”
Both Morris and Shook expressed special gratitude to U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, who were instrumental in securing $500,000 in direct federal financial support.

On the occasion of the ribbon cutting, Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, noted “For more than three decades, St. Michaels Community Center has supported the Bay Hundred community – providing food, job training, after-school programs, and other resources for thousands of local families in need. To help them continue and expand upon this critical work, we fought to deliver $500,000 in federal funding to modernize their World War II-era warehouse into a more welcoming, accessible space. In this newly transformed location, SMCC can better serve the Talbot County community and empower its residents to succeed.”

Senator Cardin also issued a statement of support, saying that “The St. Michaels Community Center is at the heart of the effort to advance economic opportunity and support residents from St. Michaels to Tilghman Island. Revitalizing SMCC will expand its already far-reaching impact for Talbot County residents.” Senator Cardin added, “Funding this renovation is just another example of how Team Maryland remains a strong partner in securing federal investments for community-led projects throughout Talbot County and across the state.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Langley and Karen Shook—a past chair of the SMCC Board who played a critical role in the Capital Campaign—cut a red ribbon formally opening the newly renovated building.

About St. Michaels Community Center (SMCC)

The St. Michaels Community Center’s mission is to serve, empower and connect our community. SMCC enhances the quality of life and serves the needs of our community through programs that enrich the lives of children, teens, seniors, and families; and recreational, social, and educational activities for residents of all ages regardless of ethnicity, gender, or economic status.

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