A single story residence with large windows in Sedona, named the Mountain Lodge in the Sedona Lago Gardens living facility for neurodiverse adults.

Sedona Lago Gardens Closes Doors Amid Economic Struggles; Rainbow Acres Reaffirms Commitment to Neurodiversity

In a significant development for the neurodiversity community in Sedona, the board of trustees for Sedona Lago Gardens, an affiliate of the well-known Rainbow Acres assisted living community, has voted unanimously to close its operations and liquidate its assets. The decision, made on May 22, comes as a result of economic challenges and insufficient revenue, despite substantial efforts and investments over the past few years.

Sedona Lago Gardens was established as a transitional program aimed at helping adults with autism learn to live independently. Situated on 10 acres of picturesque land off Dry Creek Road, the program featured four homes connected by gardens and amenities. The property was generously donated by Barbara Lago, a former director of developmental microbiology at Merck Pharmaceuticals. Despite the noble mission and ideal setting, the program faced insurmountable financial difficulties.

Rainbow Acres President and CEO, Mike Prochelo, acknowledged the closure in a press release, stating, “After considerable effort, the brand that was originally intended to operate with a base in the Sedona community will cease to operate.” He further emphasized that Rainbow Acres would now refocus its efforts on supporting neurodivergent individuals from their primary Camp Verde Ranch.

The history of Sedona Lago Gardens is intertwined with Rainbow Acres, a nonprofit that operates a ranch-style residential Christian community for developmentally disabled adults in Camp Verde. Although Sedona Lago Gardens operated under its own board and tax identification number, Rainbow Acres maintained the ability to manage the organization and was designated as the beneficiary of its assets in the event of a dissolution.

“Several years ago, Rainbow Acres decided to go on this venture with Sedona Lago Gardens,” Prochelo noted. “We put in a lot of effort and support in trying to help it work and thrive in areas such as operational, fundraising, and organizational support. It just was not meant to be.”

The closure impacts several assets, including the four homes, which were held in trust by Barbara Lago, and an office space rented from Rainbow Acres. These properties will now be available for rent to generate revenue, ensuring that all financial obligations are met, and any remaining funds will support Rainbow Acres.

Prochelo assured that despite the closure, all outstanding debts and employee wages would be honored. “We’re committed to not have any vendors or employees go without pay or a respectful disconnection,” he said. The seven staff members, split between full-time and part-time positions, will be provided post-employment support through an employee assistance program.

One of the significant challenges faced by Sedona Lago Gardens was filling its residences. Although each home had the capacity to accommodate four developmentally disabled adults, only two of the four homes were ever fully occupied. The transition for the remaining resident is being handled with care, ensuring a smooth move to a new setting with full support from the organization.

Rainbow Acres, however, remains steadfast in its mission. The press release highlighted their renewed commitment to serving the neurodivergent community from their Camp Verde Ranch. “The mission of Rainbow Acres is to be a Christian community with heart that empowers people with developmental disabilities to live to their fullest potential with dignity and purpose,” Prochelo reiterated.

As Rainbow Acres shifts its focus, they aim to strengthen their programs, partnerships, and resources to continue their impactful work in the Verde Valley. The organization invites the community to engage with their mission, visit the ranch, and support their efforts in driving positive change and creating lasting impact.

For more information about Rainbow Acres and their ongoing initiatives, visit Rainbow Acres.


Press Release
Local News Article from Sedona Red Rock News