SALISBURY, Md. - A sigh of relief for many in Wicomico County Monday.
"We are definitively not closing the Holly Center. So you heard it hear first, it's a done deal."
Instead Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene plans to reimagine the Holly Center.
MHDH Secretary Dennis Schrader has two goals: to improve residential quality and to invest in future and current residents.
He says, "The core mission being the residents who are developmentally disabled, but in addition to that making sure that the rest of the campus is viable long into the future."
For Mary Reese who cares for Virginia Massa, or better known as Ginger, this is the best news she's received in a long time.
"I am over the moon happy to hear that there are future expectations at Holly Center and that the center is going to be open, that admissions are going to be open, that respite and end of life care might be a possibility," exclaims Reese.
Just last year folks were out protesting at the Holly Center when news came out that the Center planned to close one of the four cottages that were housing residents.
Now instead of downsizing it, Sec. Schrader wants to expand the use of the Holly Center campus by bringing in tenants to vacant buildings like the Wicomico County Department of Health.
Although they still have a lot to figure out.
"Over the summer we're going to continue evaluating the various programs and there were a number of suggestions today so were looking through that to figure out how were going to use the rest of the facility," explains Sec. Schrader.
Although this is good news for many, Reese and others in the audience are still a little hesitant to believe it will all get done.
"The fact that the state of Maryland today is making a commitment to keep Holly Center open for developmentally disabled people, you know, it's like a ray of sunshine. But I've heard this story before so like Reagan said trust but verify."
Plus, the department wants to hear from the public on their suggestions on what to do with the space
If you have an inquiry about the future of the Holly Center campus email DHMH at HollyCenter.Reimagined@maryland.gov
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