The Wabasso Economic Development Association (EDA) held a joint meeting with the Wabasso City Council Friday evening, Jan. 18, to set a timeline for their assisted living project.
“We (EDA) usually do all the legwork, but its good to get the council members together with the facilitator, engineer and architect to ask questions directly,” Jim Salfer said in an interview this past Friday.
Jim is the president of the Wabasso EDA and has had a vested interest in the assisted living project the EDA has been working on for the past year.
Friday night’s meeting was of the sort to introduce key players in the project. Salfer stated facilitator John Detloff was on hand as well as the engineer and the architect. “It’s a good way to find out what everybody needs.
“The main reason for the meeting, though, was to set a timeline for the construction of the facility,” he said.
Both Salfer and city clerk Mary Smith were optimistic about the building process to get under way this summer.
“We hope to begin building by June and finish in 2014,” the city clerk said.
“This has been my pet project,” Salfer said. “I’ve been working on it for ten years.” Salfer said he’s been a member of the EDA for that long, but things only started rolling about a year ago.
“The EDA has been doing studies and visiting other assisted living places in the area,” Salfer said. “I also sent out several letters to various companies, trying to generate interest in coming to Wabasso to build one, but the response wasn’t there.
“Finally, ElderCare stepped up and said they were interested,” Salfer continued. “We would build it, they would manage it, and eventually they would buy it. If they bought it out after three years, that would make the EDA happy.”
Mary gave the buy-out time of seven to ten years.
Both the city clerk and the EDA president had copies of the platte print for the building.
It appears to be a nearly-rectangular building, totally accessible, with off-street parking and a Memory Garden in the back. It will house two 5-unit sections, one for memory care and one for assisted living. The building is designed to be easily doubled in size in the future, as need arises.
Salfer said the building would be constructed on the plot of land across the highway from the ball fields on the northeast end of town.
“There’s twice as much acreage as we need, allowing for expansion in the future,” he said. “In fact, our surveys indicated we could use a bigger facility than we’re building, but the EDA wants to start small and gradually build up.
Page 2 of 2 - “This project has been a priority for the EDA for over a year, now,” Salfer reiterated. “We have a 5-plex and a nursing home, but were missing a link. This assisted living building is the part of senior care we’ve been missing.”
The next EDA meeting will be Tuesday, February 5 beginning at 6 p.m. Salfer stated that community members are invited to attend and voice their opinions.
“It is better for any objections to come out before the construction is done,” Salfer said. “And, if anyone is disinclined to attend the meeting, they are welcome to come to my store to speak with me.”