A light shower popped up suddenly Wednesday afternoon, relocating celebrants from outdoors to the portico of The Wildwood Senior Living residential community for a grand opening.
But no matter, members of the Joplin Area of Commerce continued with the traditional ribbon-cutting to welcome the $23.4 million development by the O'Reilly Development Co. of Springfield.
Located at 3002 S. John Duffy Drive in the Wildwood Ranch Development, the new senior living complex offers 143 apartments that include independent living, assisted living and memory care with amenities such as a restaurant-style menu meal service, fitness center, movie theater, indoor pool, beauty salon and transportation.
"Our company is involved in developing continuum-of-care senior-living communities where seniors can experience both dignity and freedom with an abundance of amenities, luxurious surroundings, and by a well-staffed team of professionals. Our goal is that Wildwood is a home for life for all its new residents," said Denise Heintz, director of operations and development for O'Reilly.
Heintz said The Wildwood also offers jobs for the Joplin community. Currently, there are 50 employees, and more are to be hired.
She recognized dignitaries, residents, staff, representatives of the O'Reilly company and investors as well as its partner companies on the project during the ceremony. Partners include Arrow Senior Living, the management company for The Wildwood's day-to-day operations.
"I want to say how excited we are to be a part of the Joplin community, and we wouldn't be here without the O'Reilly Company," said Stephanie Harris, CEO of Arrow.
She recognized O'Reilly for its role in providing senior-living developments across Missouri.
"We're grateful that their commitment to the community is about creating affordable options that we can all be proud of that have first-class amenities and services," Harris said. She described O'Reilly's construction as "top-notch. You don't see this type of quality across this country. This is a very rare gem, and we have it right here in Joplin, Missouri."
After the ceremony, the owner of Wildwood Ranch Development, Jimmer Pinjuv, said O'Reilly's complex is the fourth health care and senior living operation to open there and that a fifth is under construction.
Pinjuv said that while Wildwood has become a center for those types of operations, it also offers single-family homes and industrial sites with railroad access. There are 140 homes now located within the ranch with the possibility of 1,000 single-family homes to be built in the next few years. He said the area could use a grocery store.
The executive director of the new senior living center is Dan Shields, who has 30 years of experience in the field. He said the center has been opening in stages to assure adequate staff is on board with each phase. New residents are moving in each week and the apartments will be filled gradually over time as more staff is in place to assure a quality experience, he said.
There are 80 apartments for independent living for those 55 and older, 50 apartments for assisted living and 13 for memory care residents, he said.
"I feel it's a wonderful addition to the Joplin community," Shields said. "I feel very proud that we have the O'Reilly family and Arrow Senior Living investing in a community like this for Joplin."