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Menahga nursing home proposal for expansion would cost $10 million

Menahga's nursing home administrator Clair Erickson said he would like to attract more senior citizens to the city, provide appealing housing and topnotch services.

In order to do so, the city would have to spend about $10 million to expand Greenwood Connections.

"It's important, when you start, to go big," Erickson said. "If you don't start with the big picture, you're selling yourself short."

The Greenwood Connections Advisory Board reviewed the proposed project budget Tuesday and will present it to the council at the Monday, Aug. 10 meeting.

The budget doesn't include the cottage-style twin homes that are included in the plan designed by Helenske Design Group.

What's included is 24 assisted living apartments, 12 assisted living plus apartments and six extended stay suites.

The project can be done in three phases or all together in one.

By breaking it up in phases, the city could potentially have more time to raise funds for the rest of the project, said Kim Rasmussen, who represents the council on the board.

However, it's cheaper to pay contractors and designers for one phase of the project, according to the budget that's based on a spring 2010 construction start.

Rising costs

Because the project is expensive, board member Jim Kangas said the rates would have to go up, but a feasibility study is needed to determine that.

Those on the waiting list for assisted living may not be willing to pay more, he said.

Erickson suggested contacting former city auditor Miller McDonald to conduct a feasibility study.

But Rasmussen said that wouldn't be necessary because that firm would probably charge the same as the current auditor Eide Bailey.

Possible grants

Executive Director of Region Five Development Commission Cheryal Hills has been in contact with the architect Mike Erickson and councilwoman Maxine Norman, discussing possible funding for the expansion project.

"Grant sources should potentially have a different focus," she said in an interview.

Most building projects funded by grants are focused on energy efficiency, she said.

But the nursing home project could receive funding based on specific guidelines, such as creating jobs or serving a vulnerable population.

As Hills finds out more information about the project, she will continue to research for the best suitable grants.

"No one is promising anything, but we're trying to find what we can to support the project," she said.