Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Groundbreaking - New LaBelle Housing

New Apartments For LaBelle

LABELLE, FL. -- On Friday, February 20, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida broke ground on "Palmetto Ranch," a 14-unit apartment complex for people with developmental disabilities. The housing complex will be located near the intersection of James Singleton Place and State Road 80 in western LaBelle.

LaBelle Mayor Paul Puletti was joined by members of Goodwill's senior management staff and board of directors as they ceremonially turned the dirt on the project. The actual site construction was already underway, and workers continued to lay foundation and build stem-walls as the ceremonial groundbreaking took place nearby.

Also in attendance at the groundbreaking were City Commissioner Hilda Zimmerly, Hendry County Housing Authority Commissioner Sherri Denning, officers of the LaBelle Kiwanis, and even neighborhood residents. "It's wonderful to see so much support from the community," said Kirsten O'Donnell, Goodwill's Director of Public Relations.

When completed, Palmetto Ranch will be Goodwill's thirteenth housing complex in Southwest Florida, and first in Henry County. Goodwill will also build a "phase two" for Palmetto Ranch, which will provide 14 more HUD-approved units specially designed to accommodate people with physical disabilities. Raymond Holland, Chairman of Goodwill's Board of Directors, explains the need for the housing complex. "There is a shortage of desirable services for Hendry County�s most vulnerable citizens," says Holland. "Soon, affordable housing for the disabled will be a reality in Hendry County."

Each of Goodwill's barrier-free housing communities has an on-site community room, laundry room and picnic/patio area. Accessible apartments are constructed with conveniences like assistance railings, widened doorways, roll-in showers, and lowered sinks, countertops, and mirrors.

Plans for the LaBelle site also include a new retail store, which will be accessible from State Road 80. Revenue from Goodwill's 23 Southwest Florida stores helps to support the organization�s programs and services, which include housing. Retail sales provide approximately 86% of the funding required for Goodwill�s services.

The new LaBelle site is part of a concerted effort by Goodwill to expand its mission in Hendry County.

Photo (L-R): Rick Evanchyk, Goodwill Vice President of Administrative Services; Sherri Denning, Hendry County Housing Authority Commissioner; Jean Devereaux, Goodwill Board of Directors; Paul Puletti, LaBelle Mayor; Raymond Holland, Chairman of Goodwill Board of Directors; Tom Feurig, Goodwill President/CEO.

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