Assisted living facility construction moving along quickly
Construction on a new assisted living facility in northwest Wadena is well underway. The Meadows of Wadena will include units for seniors, according to documents submitted to the city of Wadena.
Officials from the city of Wadena, Housing Alternatives Development Company and community members were on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, March 15 at the construction site between First and Second Street north of Hemlock Avenue. Construction crews have been busy since the foundation was poured in early 2017.
Paul Abzug, president of Housing Alternatives Development Company, recalled driving through Wadena and being surprised there wasn't an assisted living facility option. Since then, he has been working to bring such a facility to Wadena.
At the groundbreaking, Abzug said he was proud to note the wood trusses and framing materials were purchased locally at Timber Roots and they hoped to use local materials as much as possible for the construction.
Wadena Mayor George Deiss spoke briefly at the groundbreaking as well.
"This is a much needed facility in our community and I'm already getting calls from people wanting to get on a list," he said.
The company asked for and was approved for Tax Increment Financing to help with the costs of construction. At least 20 percent of the units must be occupied by people who make less than 50 percent of the median income of Wadena County.
The 49-unit facility will be approximately 36,000 square feet. It will be a single-story building with a mix of suites, one bedrooms and two bedrooms. Two courtyards are shown on a drawing of the proposed facility.
The total estimated project costs, including land acquisition, site development, building cost, soft costs, financing costs and contingencies are about $5.3 million.
"We believe this project will provide many economic benefits to the Wadena community," the company said. "Specifically, the project will employ approximately 25 individuals (approximately 11 full time and the remainder part time.)"
He thanked Joel Beiswenger, Tri-County Health Care CEO, and Lee Westrum, Wadena-Deer Creek School District Superintendent, for their letters of support early in the project.
The assisted living facility will have a different feel from a nursing home. "It will have a residential feel—not institutional," Abzug said.
Three meals per day will be provided on site and residents will be able to participate in activities.
"We believe the project will significantly benefit the elderly population in the Wadena area by providing an active, high-quality, non-institutional place to enjoy their lives," the applicants wrote.
Housing Alternatives Development Company owns and operates three senior campuses, one in Cloquet and two in New Ulm.
The company hopes to complete construction this year.