The St. Johns County community has stepped in and they are helping to pay for The Arc of St Johns $1.8 million Safe Harbor hurricane shelter for people with disabilities. The St. Johns County community has donated $1.3 million in just six months toward the cost of building the shelter and classrooms.
Board member Andy Norman says most storm shelters get overcrowded and can’t accommodate residents with severe intellectual and medical challenges, like those who receive services from The Arc.
“We need to build something that can house our people and can protect them during these storms,” Norman said in a televised interview last week.
Hopefully, when the next hurricane rolls in, those in the care of The Arc won’t have to go anywhere thanks to the Safe Harbor Project. According to Norman, the unfamiliarity of not knowing where you’re going adds to the frenzy and anxiety of evacuating during a hurricane.
Historic City News obtained a copy of the plans for the 6,300-square-foot facility to be located on what is now a wooded corner of The Arc property. It’s a multi-purpose building with five classrooms, two common areas, a kitchen, laundry facilities and medical facilities. The plan is for classrooms that will transform into shelter housing during a hurricane, providing the comforts of home and familiar surroundings.
The groundbreaking for the Safe Harbor Project is planned for February of 2020.