Early 1997 the Board of Directors of Adirondack Mennonite Retirement Community, Inc. (AMRC, Inc.), a not-for-profit corporation and owner-operator of Brookside Senior-Living Community in Lowville, NY, had a vision to create a community similar to Brookside, but located in Watertown. The movers and shakers of that Board included Donald Exford and Joseph Widrick. These two men linked up with Mark Purcell, owner of Purcell Construction. Purcell Construction had completed an addition at Brookside on the congregate apartment building in December 1996. Mark liked what he saw at Brookside and began assisting the AMRC Board in their search for a partner to build a community in Watertown.
Through conversations with members of the AMRC Board, the Board of Directors of Henry Keep Home decided that it was time to “branch out.” Henry Keep Home had developed several housing communities designed for seniors of lower income but realized that nothing existed for those seniors whose incomes were too high for subsidized housing. The two corporations, Adirondack Mennonite Retirement Community, Inc. and Henry Keep Home, entered into a partnership to develop and manage what eventually became known as Ives Hill Retirement Community. Both corporations are members of what became a newly formed not-for-profit corporation known as Ives Hill Retirement Community, Inc. Hence, the Board of Directors for Ives Hill Retirement Community, Inc. is comprised of members from each of the parent organizations’ Boards of Directors. Serving on the founding Board for AMRC were Donald Exford, Homer Myers, and Joseph Widrick; Richard Zehr served as an alternate for AMRC during the first few years of operations. Likewise, serving on the founding Board for Henry Keep Home were Norman Ahlheim, Donald Alexander, Martha Brown, and Kerry Roberge; Carole Brown and Martin Schatz served as an alternates.
Construction of the congregate apartment building began early summer 1997. On July 15, 1998 the 44-unit apartment building, complete with dining room, commercial kitchen, multi-purpose activity room, parlor, exercise room, and computer room / library. Preceding the opening, employees were hired, beginning with Manager, Kathy Rowe. Dianne Ward, Executive Director, for Brookside and Ives Hill teamed with Kathy to interview, hire and train the first “pioneer” employees.
From 1998 through 2002, Phase I development continued. Four duplex homes and three cottage homes were constructed during this time. Late 2002 construction of Phase II began. This new neighborhood area, now known as Stone Circle, includes of eight duplexes (16 homes) and five cottage (single-family) homes. These five cottage homes are located along the Ives Hill golf course. Construction of the last duplex home in Phase II was completed in 2006.
Phase III construction began autumn 2010 and completed September 2011. Phase III includes five duplex homes situated along Elmore Lane, named after the first duplex residents of Ives Hill, Ed & Ruthbelle Elmore. Elmore Lane homes are close to the athletic fields of Immaculate Heart High School. One day Elmore Lane and Jewell Drive will connect to Ives Street via a new street that will intersect with Ives Street at Barben Avenue.
The most recent building addition on the Ives Hill campus is "The Lodge at Ives Hill." The Lodge opened March 2012. It is licensed by the Department of Health as Enriched Housing and staffed 24-hours daily by nurses and personal care aides. The Lodge is a small residence with a mix of 10 studio units and 8 one-bedroom units.
Visit Ives Hill Retirement Community today! A reservation is required in advance for an apartment or patio home. Don’t miss the opportunity to live a carefree, maintenance-free lifestyle among friends, neighbors, and a caring staff.
1200 Jewell Drive
Watertown, NY 13601