Developmentally disabled adults enjoy new community at Arc Jacksonville Village

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and Ben Davis cut the ribbon during the grand opening of The Arc Jacksonville Village May 18. Looking on are Village resident Kristie Gabel; Blake Wilson, EverBank CEO and president; Senator Aaron Bean and Jim Whittaker, The Arc Village CEO and president; front: Village residents Destiny Tolson and Michael Williams.

Almost one year to the day after construction began, the grand opening and ribbon cutting of The Arc Jacksonville Village, the nation’s first community of its type, was held May 18, 2016.

The Arc Jacksonville Village is an affordable, independent-living, apartment-style neighborhood designed to maximize community inclusion for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Village includes 97 villas of one- and two-bedroom apartments, recreational amenities including a swimming pool, and an 11,207 square foot community center.

Just as thrilling for Judy Lanier, The Arc Jacksonville director of development, was the closing of the capital campaign at the end of its fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2016 with all $22.2 million raised for construction and initial operating expenses.

“We are excited to have raised $22.2 million to establish a new residential option for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Lanier. “We are, however, seeking private sector funding for enhancements to services and activities such as establishing an organic garden, additional fitness opportunities and employment readiness.”

The construction/development cost was provided through the efforts of many individuals, groups, sponsors, community benefactors and families. The state of Florida awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits allowing EverBank to invest in The Village.

Among those private individuals who contributed were Ben and Diana Davis, who made a gift in memory of Ben’s mother, Mary Lou Davis, for whom the community center was named.

Although the capital campaign is over, The Village seeks to partner with community members to establish a volunteer program fueled by persons with multi-faceted interests and expertise. With 121 residents, each with unique hobbies and interests, Lanier welcomes Jacksonville neighbors who want to share their skills.

To volunteer at The Arc Jacksonville, call (904) 355-0155 or email [email protected].