LARC Breaks Ground on New Group Home
Prevoius Home Was Destroyed By Hurricane Ian
(FORT MYERS, Fla October 13, 2023) – Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens’ (LARC), an organization working to empower and support individuals with disabilities and their families, held a groundbreaking ceremony for their new group home in Cape Coral on Thursday, October 5.
LARC provides 24-hour supervision in a person-centered, home-like environment where residents with developmental disabilities receive life-skills training. Hurricane Ian destroyed the North Fort Myers riverfront house that adults have called home for more than 25 years. Five adults were displaced and are living in temporary rental housing. Residents lost everything except the overnight bags they packed when leaving for the shelter before the hurricane.
The home will include six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and 4,800 square feet of living space. The home site was given to LARC years ago. The cost of the house is around $1 million, with much of it coming from insurance, money saved for the renovation of the old house, and the sale of the property where the former home is located. LARC is still trying to raise about $200,000 to complete the new home.
“The devastation caused by Hurricane Ian has had a profound impact on our community and the lives of the individuals we serve,” said Angela Katz, LARC Executive Director. “The groundbreaking is a momentous occasion for our organization and the community, as it symbolizes our unwavering dedication to improving the lives of those we support.”
“LARC is committed to its core values of compassion and resilience and has tirelessly worked to secure funding and resources to construct a new, state-of-the-art group home that will not only provide a safe and comfortable living environment but also empower residents to thrive,” said Austin Clinton, LARC board chair.
LARC is working in partnership with Steven R. Bowen Construction and Designers + Builders Unite, established by Dwayne Bergmann, owner and principal designer of Dwayne Bergmann Interiors, and Stacey Callahan, publisher of Luxe Interiors + Design Florida, to create a customized space.
“It is an honor to be a part of this community project,” said Bergmann. “The adversity of the hurricane has made us stronger, and it is a privilege to assist in the redevelopment of this group home for LARC.”
Brian Bradley, a LARC board member, was recognized on behalf of his family, who donated the riverfront home 25 years ago. His sister, Kathy, participated in LARC’s programs for 35 years, and his brother, Roger, was LARC’s executive director for 31 years.
Refreshments were provided by Mike Gavala, LARC board member and owner of G3 Catering.
Since 1954, LARC has been dedicated to meeting the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in Southwest Florida. LARC is a training center for success for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. LARC serves more than 300 individuals annually, and participants range from 14 to 80.
LARC offers vocational training, community residential services, and a vast array of other state-of-the-art community inclusion services on a full-time, year-round basis. LARC’s main campus is located at 2570 Hanson Street, Fort Myers. LARC also operates two Residential Group Homes in Cape Coral and Fort Myers.