After a unanimous 6-0 decision (Commissioner Hagan was not present during vote) to approve rezoning of the former St. Stephen Catholic Church located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd., plans will move forward with the development of an ‘Aging-In-Place’ assisted living community currently dubbed Fifty49 Bell Shoals.
The development will soon enter the design and engineering phase, with construction targeted to begin sometime in the spring of 2019, according to the developer Bridgepoint Lifecare Group LLC.
Commissioner Stacy White, commissioner for District 4 commented, “We are woefully under inventoried with respect to ALF facilities in Hillsborough County.” Commissioner Sandra Murman seconded this, adding, “This is a needed facility for the community.”
The proposed 260-bed assisted living community will be unlike other facilities in the area. The ‘just like home’ model will embrace a neighborhood compatible design theme, with villa and patio homes configured into pocket clusters and mini-neighborhoods, featuring shared garden walkways, and courtyards.
The developer, Bridgepoint Lifecare Group, has made it a point throughout the rezoning process to express that this community will resemble a neighborhood, and not a typical institutional-like campus of large, block buildings.
Nearly 50 area residents showed up at the hearing in support of the new assisted living facility and many voiced their opinions in favor of the future development.
Lisa Huetteman, Valrico resident and supporter stated, “This development allows my parents to live in an independent-style unit that offers additional support as needed. The elder care community, with a neighborhood atmosphere, will certainly enhance Bell Shoals.”
Rita Joyce added, “When I am no longer able to care for myself, how comforting it will be to know I can stay in a local senior community among my friends and family who can visit.”
Betty Cocchiola noted, “The new community will be attractive with a garden environment and scenic appeal, and will look and feel like a neighborhood community, and not a commercial institution.”