Center for Elders’ Independence breaks ground on West County facility

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In the photo: (left to right) CEI Director of Government Affairs Director Uche Uwahemu, JD, MBA, CEI Director of Real Estate Development & Plant Operations Vic Gellon, from the office of Senator Nancy Skinner Gabriel Sandoval and Valerie Padilla, Center Director Heather Madaus, AC Transit Board Director Jovanka Beckles, Richmond City Councilmember Soheila Bana, PhD , Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, CEI President and CEO Maria E. Zamora, Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez, CEI Board Chair Florence Raskin, Trustee Pello Walker, CEI Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Mittelberger and El Sobrante Chamber of Commerce Vice President Judy Ward. (All photos courtesy of CEI)

Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia and Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez joined a well-attended groundbreaking ceremony for the Centers for Elders’ Independence’s West County facility on Friday, Nov. 3.

CEI, which provides the rapidly growing population of local older residents with medical and social services near their homes, is building a more than 19,000 square foot center at the site of the former Thrift Town at 3645 San Pablo Dam Rd. in El Sobrante.

Local partners, community leaders and members joined CEI employees and leadership at the groundbreaking for the new center, which is expected to open late next year.

CEI CEO and President Maria Zamora opened the groundbreaking with a land acknowledgement to the Ohlone tribe as the original custodians of the land being built on, according to CEI. During the ceremony, Zamora received a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of CEI from the office of Sen. Nancy Skinner.

Future Center Director Heather Madaus and Sales and Enrollment Phylicia Mitchell check out the floor plan on the future CEI West County Campus.

The new center aims to provide services to a senior citizen population that is expected to skyrocket in the coming decades. Currently, over 18,000 seniors are using Medi-Cal in West County and have minimal options. Travel is often required to access multiple services.

CEI’s West County facility will feature a sizable clinical team area, behavioral health room and a private observation room, as well as social and activity centers, a dining room, library, computer lab, personal care area, serving kitchen and an outdoor patio. It will also include a spacious senior rehabilitation gym with exercise equipment, a treatment room and a mock apartment for occupational therapy sessions.

CEI expects to create approximately 40 new jobs at the new location, including nurses, physicians, rehabilitation therapists, drivers, home care aides, social workers, activity specialists, and personal care assistants.

Earlier this year, CEI received $1 million from the State of California toward building the new CEI location in El Sobrante. CEI expressed gratitude to Sen. Skinner for supporting it and California seniors.

CEI CEO and President Maria Zamora opens the groundbreaking with a land acknowledgement to the Ohlone tribe as the original custodians of the land being built on.