Recently, I attended the grand opening of a great new senior housing development in Arnold, Watercolor Villas. Supported by the Disability Resource Center and a private developer, this is the first development of its kind in Arnold, and I am proud to have it in my district.
Twenty percent of the units in this development are dedicated to special needs tenants, and all units house adults aged 55 or older. It seems that the developer thought of just about everything the tenants could need. Each unit has solar panels and many other energy-efficient extras. One of the residents treated me to a tour of her home and shared that her energy bill for the month of July was less than $40. Unbelievable, considering the heat we experienced this past summer! I can honestly tell you I was envious of her utility bill, that’s for sure.
Discussions with other residents revealed that all units have been filled, and that the residents are universally happy. One woman told me that she feels as if she has won the lottery by securing a unit in this development. Another woman mentioned that she really enjoys the convenient location. She said bus service is available, and her doctors and shopping needs are nearby. Folks moved to this neighborhood from as far away as Bridgeton and Farmington. It is clear that Watercolor Villas has made Arnold a go-to location for these happy seniors. Although residents moved in only a few months ago, they tell me that everyone knows everyone else (and their dog) in the neighborhood. This is a place where neighbors have become friends who regularly visit with each other, walk the sidewalks around the neighborhood, and meet in the community center to socialize. This is more than a development. This is a new and thriving community.
One of the first constituent projects I worked on in 2011 was helping a woman get onto the waiting list of this development. At the time, she was living in a mobile home in Arnold where the kitchen sink no longer worked. She told me she was desperate to secure a better place to live, but her budget was very tight. After several calls to various county offices, including the Disability Resource Center, I was able to get her the telephone number of the developer. She secured a spot on the waiting list for the last open unit. She is another “lottery winner”.
Today, every unit is filled and there is a waiting list of over 300 people. I wish everyone could feel like a lottery winner in their own home and community. Congratulations to the developer, Patrick Werner of Arapaho Development, the Disability Resource Center, and Arnold Mayor, Ron Counts, who lobbied to bring this successful project to Arnold. Most of all, congratulations to the residents of Watercolor Villas.