Retirement complex for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Salisbury Township
Workers from 20 local trades to build retirement complex in Salisbury Township.
Groundbreaking on a retirement complex for aging Jehovah’s Witnesses in Salisbury Township is scheduled to begin next month.
The $6.5 million Legacy Place Cottages — to be at 2051 Bevin Drive, near the southern entrance to South Mall — will consist of two single-story buildings totaling 30,000 square feet, according to Serfass Construction of North Whitehall Township, which is overseeing the project on behalf of the nonprofit group Jah-Jireh Homes of America.
“It will blend into the neighborhood. These two buildings will look like large homes when they done,” Serfass Vice President Matthias Fenstermacher said. “They are spending quite a bit of money to make it look like that.”
According to Jah-Jireh’s website, the group’s goal is “to care for aging Jehovah’s Witnesses who need assistance with aspects of daily living and are no longer able to stay in their own home.”
Jah-Jireh’s board consists of members from throughout the state and from as far away as Grand Rapids, Mich., though the chairman, Darbin T. Skeans, is from Allentown, according to the site.
Neither Skeans nor anyone else from the group could be reached for comment.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Christian sect that was formed in this country in the late 1800s and is governed today by a ruling body based in Brooklyn, N.Y. They are familiar to many people through their door-to-door missionary work, responsible for distributing countless copies of “The Watchtower” and “Awake!” to homes throughout the world.
Although Christian, Jehovah’s Witnesses subscribe to tenets that distinguish them from Catholics and mainstream Protestants. They reject the concept of the Trinity (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and they do not celebrate Christmas or Easter.
Fenstermacher said Legacy Place Cottage is a good fit for Serfass Construction — a third-generation, family-owned enterprise established in 1948 — because the company has developed a specialty in health care-related projects. About 20 to 30 percent of its work is tied to health care, he said.
More than 20 local trades will work on the project, and as many as 50 workers will be on site on any given day during nine months of construction, according to Serfass. The first day of work is set for March 1.
“As long as the weather breaks, that’s when we’re starting,” Fenstermacher said.
The land on which Legacy Place Cottages will be built is in a residential area between the busy Auto Mile on Lehigh Street and the Little Lehigh Creek.
The project will include a number of provisions to protect the Little Lehigh Creek watershed, according to Fenstermacher. For example, he said, captured run-off from a sprinkler system will be used to irrigate landscaped areas.