VENICE, Fla. — Florida Sen. Nancy Detert marked the opening of a new residential facility for adults with developmental disabilities at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by over 300 people at Loveland Center (LovelandCenter.org) on Monday.
The 42-unit apartment complex will provide a naturally therapeutic community of peers and support services for up to 94 adults with developmental disabilities. Detert was instrumental in advocating for laws and funding to support the project in her home district, and the Nancy Detert Residences at Loveland Village were named in her honor.
“We never lost sight of the goal, and we never lost faith that we’d get here,” Detert said during the ceremony. “This is a pilot program that people from across the state and country will come to see. This is a model for how to treat people.”
Detert, who cut the ceremonial ribbon to celebrate the facility’s grand opening after speaking, said she hoped residents would move into the units and live happily ever after.
Florida Rep. Julio Gonzalez, Venice Mayor John Holic and Venice City Council Member Jeanette Gates also attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Loveland Village residents have the opportunity to live in a one-, two-, three- or four-bedroom apartment, and unlike some facilities around the country, residents’ caregivers can live with them at Loveland Village. The apartments feature accessible, universal design principles, like refrigerator doors and stove knobs that can be reached from a wheelchair and showers that people using a wheelchair can roll into.
The Loveland Village clubhouse allows residents to gather for activities and community building and includes a large main room with a stage, a commercial kitchen and several smaller rooms.
Loveland Center President and CEO Daniela Koci thanked the many companies, foundations and individuals who made the facility possible, including Dr. Jim Woods, who spearheaded the capital campaign to raise $4 million in two years, and former Loveland Center CEO Carl Penxa, who was at the helm of the nonprofit when the project began and who rallied support for the project.
“There is a tremendous need for this kind of facility in southwest Florida,” Koci said. “The people at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Loveland Village believe in the potential of the people we serve.”
Local construction companies Halfacre Construction Company and J.E. Charlotte Construction Corp. donated time and materials to help make this project a success.
About Loveland Center
Established in 1962, the Loveland Center strives to help adults with developmental disabilities live their lives to the fullest. The nonprofit was founded by a group of parents who sought to provide a productive and safe place for adults with developmental disabilities. Loveland Center provides educational programs and vocational training for individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information, visit www.LovelandCenter.org or call 941-493-0016.