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Agency Helping Developmentally Disabled Celebrates Start of Nature Trail

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Representatives of The Arc Westchester are joined by elected officials and contractors for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the nature walking trail at the Ann Manzi Center in Mount Kisco. The center offers day serves to the developmentally disabled.

The largest organization that serves the developmentally disabled community in Westchester County has begun the next phase of improvements to its facility and grounds at one of its day centers.

Representatives of The Arc Westchester celebrated the recent groundbreaking for improvements on the three-acre-plus property that is home to the Ann Manzi Center in Mount Kisco.

The ceremony last Thursday morning recognized the recent start of site work to build an accessible nature walking trail on the grounds that will promote wellness and physical fitness for some of the estimated 450 to 500 program participants, particularly the older people that The Arc Westchester serves.

Plans also include more parking, better security and lighting, an improved entryway and awning and renovations to the ADA-compliant bathroom.

Tibi A. Guzman, the chief executive officer at The Arc Westchester, said the walking trail will serve multiple purposes. Its vision is to have the people, all of whom are adults that use the organization’s day services at the Manzi Center weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., to have a comfortable area for them to be outside, she said. Many of the developmentally disabled don’t spend enough time in the fresh air.

The trail will also be accessible by those who use wheelchairs.

“The idea to create an outdoor place where the people we support can sit there and not only exercise but also relax, also appreciate nature, also be part of building nature because there are going to be flower pots, and support that they would be involved with in actual planting and picking the flowers and all that,” Guzman said. “So they’re going to have a lot of ownership here, so we’re very excited about that.”

Money for this portion of the improvement project is coming largely from The Arc Westchester Foundation, the Mother Cabrini Foundation and the Manzi family, said Barry Clark, executive director of the foundation. The organization, which is entering its 75th year, also receives some state funding, he said.

But without the private donors, it is unlikely The Arc Westchester could serve the numbers that it does or serve them as effectively.

“The fundraising mission of The Arc Westchester Foundation is becoming increasingly important to the organization and its future, and projects like this fall under that,” said Clark, who noted the organization has a $40 million to $50 million annual budget. “So this is another funded through the support of donors in the community. This is not paid for through government funding. It’s a philanthropic endeavor, and it doesn’t end with this.”

The trail and other Phase 2 improvements could be completed by later this year.

Participating in last week’s ceremonial groundbreaking was Joe Manzi, the son of Ann Manzi whose philanthropy was the main funding source to acquire the building at 699 Main St. in the village. Manzi, who attended the event last week with his sister, said The Arc Westchester has continued to expand services to an increasing number of people. It serves roughly 2,000 developmentally disabled in Westchester County.

“I’ve seen this organization grow since I’ve been six, seven years old,” Manzi said. “It’s a tremendous evolution since the early days of this organization when my mother was very involved.”

Wishing The Arc well was Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich. He said the village has become a hub to help people with their health-related needs. The transformation of this property fits into that mission and provides critical services for a vulnerable population, he said.

“Mount Kisco, in my opinion, it’s a health and wellness community, and this is part of the health and wellness,” Cindrich said.

The completed first phase of the improvement project at the site addressed many of the building’s infrastructure needs, Guzman said.

The Arc Westchester has 67 locations throughout Westchester, including 44 group homes and several other day services locations scattered throughout the county, she added.

Helping The Arc Westchester with the project is IKMueller Architecture, Insite Engineering, Cuono Engineering, BGA Mechanical Engineering and Murphy Brothers Contracting.

To learn more about The Arc Westchester and to support its work, visit




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