“This has been many years in the making and was not possible without the grace of God and his providence and provision of resources,” Cassia CEO Bob Dahl said. “To Him we give all the glory today first of all.”
Maplewood Mayor Marylee Abrams expressed excitement about the new community.
“We are thrilled to have this campus here,” she said. “What a wonderful asset it is for all of us.”
A New Chapter in a Storied Legacy
New Harmony Care Center served generations of residents throughout more than 50 years of existence in St. Paul.
“What kept New Harmony going was its strong quality and compassionate care,” Harmony Gardens Administrator Becky Holmgren said.
Harmony Gardens’ aim is to carry on that legacy in a state-of-the-art community.
A Full Continuum of Care
While New Harmony provided only skilled nursing, Harmony Gardens features:
- 70 independent and assisted living apartments
- 12 care suites for those who need extra care but want to stay in an assisted living setting
- 14 memory care assisted living suites
- 40 skilled nursing rooms
- 24 short-term rehabilitation rooms
“Our move to Harmony Gardens and this beautiful community here in Maplewood has been a blessing in more ways than I imagined,” Becky said. “Here at Harmony Gardens, we have a campus that can now serve a wide variety of care needs. Our campus offers a full continuum of care so anyone living on our campus can age in place.”
Furthermore, loved ones who would otherwise be separated can live in the same community.
“We have numerous couples, friends and siblings who are now able to reside under the same roof again while receiving the care they so importantly need,” Harmony Gardens Housing Director Sarah Schwensen said. “Being able to accommodate these couples has been so very important to us.”
The new community offers amenities such as private dining spaces, a salon/spa, café/bistro, fitness room, activity rooms, therapy, sunrooms, heated underground parking and more.
All long-term care residents have fully furnished private bedrooms.
Independent and assisted living apartments feature full kitchens with stainless steel appliances, as well as zero entry showers with grab bars.
Another benefit for independent living residents is the ability to transition to assisted living without having to move to a different apartment.
Words of Thanks
Bob expressed thanks for everyone who made Harmony Gardens possible, including the congregation and leaders at First Evangelical Free Church of Maplewood.
“This was a conversation that started many years ago,” Bob said. “We couldn’t be here today without their willingness to make this land available for us to put this building on. It’s been incredible to watch that idea from that conversation many years ago turn into what we have today.”
Many Cassia staff members played a role in the process.
“This entire project was a team effort from the Cassia home office and the Harmony Gardens staff,” Bob said. “The mission of Cassia really starts to happen after all this tremendous work gets done and we start moving in residents who need care and services into our building. That is what we work toward.”
Many other individuals and entities contributed time, effort and resources to the cause.
Ward Isaacson and his team at Pope Design Group, of St. Paul, came alongside Cassia leadership to develop a vision for Harmony Gardens.
Stuart Bestul and his crews at CBS Construction, of Champlin, brought that vision to life from the ground up.
Amy Bursey of Monogram Design Consultants, of Golden Valley, beautified the interior of the community.
Financing from Bremer Bank made the project possible.
Sarah expressed gratitude to everyone involved throughout the process.
“We thank all of our donors, partners, staff members and residents who have made Harmony Gardens a warm and inviting place to live and work,” she said.
A Resident’s Story
“The number of residents who want to give recognition to our staff is so rewarding,” Becky said. “The praise given to the staff for the work they do day in and day out is humbling. Having the peace of mind that the residents who live here are so grateful for this community, the staff we have and the amenities we offer truly is what warms my heart.”
Maridee Farrow is one of those residents.
“The wide variety of services and activities make this a wonderful community,” she said.
She expounded on that statement.
“There is an abundance of activities to get to know other residents and to make friends—such as movie nights, crafts, social hours, cards and games, knitting club, book club, volunteer projects, fitness classes—the list goes on and on of how we can enjoy time together. The halls are an avenue for a cheerful hello and conversations.”
She shared that the staff has supported her and her husband, Charles, who has Parkinson ’s disease, COPD and other health issues. Over the past three months, Charles has been in and out of the hospital, in the Transitional Care Unit, and is currently in skilled nursing.
“We are so thankful that when all this happened, we were at Harmony Gardens, where the staff was attentive to our changing needs,” Maridee said. “ … It has been an amazing journey with how the care of the staff has helped us through this and taken good care of Charles.”
“Cassia’s mission—‘Serving all by following One’—is exemplified throughout Harmony Gardens,” Maridee concluded.
People Make it Happen
Harmony Gardens staff make stories such as Maridee’s possible.
“What the residents and their families have shared with me about Harmony Gardens is that they are beyond impressed with how much passion the staff have,” Becky said. “This passion is shown by going the extra mile, giving kind care and exemplifying our service standards.”
And, the staff at Harmony Gardens are just getting started.
“We look forward to many years of serving the community for people who need care in the later years of their life,” Bob said.