ALAMEDA -- At the moment, the deep, dusty parcel at 2216 Lincoln Ave. is vacant. But within a year it will be home, a place where 18 developmentally disabled adults will enjoy an independent life.
The groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the Jack Capon Villa, which will include 19 units of affordable housing (one for an on-site manager), was festive, despite the thunder of equipment as workers resurfaced Lincoln Avenue.
Mayor Marie Gilmore noted that this is the final redevelopment-funded project in town. She said it will relieve the anxiety of families who worry about what will happen to their grown children when they are no longer able to care for them.
The development has been named for the late Jack Capon, who founded who founded the Special Olympics Program in Alameda and who was its volunteer director from 1973 to 1999. Alameda Housing Commission Chairman Art Kurrasch said Capon was a champion to his Special Olympics students.
"He told them they could do anything they wanted to do," he said. "And because of him, they did."
Capon's wife, Barbara Capon, and her daughter Jennifer Cobb, attended the ceremony. Capon said Cobb, "has her dad's heart," because she so enjoys her volunteer work with the Recreation and Park Department's program for developmentally disabled youth. Jack Capon served as Kiwanis Club president, and later, even when he became too ill to speak, eat or walk, insisted on going to the meetings.
Naming the villa in Capon's memory was the request of special education teachers and other people in Alameda who knew him. Public and private sources will help subsidize the rental fees. All of the 18 units will be Section 8-eligible, and a waiting list will be overseen by the Alameda Housing Authority and the East Bay Housing Consortium.
Section 8 vouchers from the Housing Authority will enable tenants to only pay 30 percent of their adjusted monthly income for rent. The project will include one- and two-bedroom units and was a joint project of the city, Satellite Affordable Housing Association, Alameda Housing Authority and other agencies.
The property, located two blocks from Park Street, will feature a community room, a computer lab and artwork by Creative Growth Art Center. Funding partners include the city of Alameda Housing Authority; Enterprise Community Investment Inc.; Alameda County; Bank of America; Bank of Alameda; and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.