At their meeting last Thursday, the Soldiers Grove Village Board approved pursuing a planning grant for the construction of an assisted living facility after hearing an update on the situation.
Jackie Carley, an employee of Community Health Services (CHS) and Dale Klemme, the Executive Director of Community Development Alternatives (CDA), made the presentation to the board. CHS operates the Sannes Skogdalen nursing home in Soldiers Grove. CDA is a consulting firm that works with local municipalities.
Carley told the board that CHS was interested in adding an assisted living facility to the nursing home operation in Soldiers Grove, but would not want to finance the cost of construction. Carley suggested construction might be financed by investors and CHS would run the facility.
The nursing home official said there might be a variety of ways to approach the project with invested construction capital including CHS leasing the building from investors or CHS charging administration fees to investors for running the facility.
Carley explained CHS would be reluctant to take on the financing of construction since they are financing an assisted living facility in Prairie du Chien attached to the hospital there.
Klemme summarized some of the progress made in addressing the possibilities of building an assisted living facility. He noted there appears to be support in the community to make it happen.
“Some residents are very enthusiastic about the idea,” Klemme told the board.
The consultant also told the board that a recent brainstorming session on the proposed assisted living project helped to shed some light on the process. However, he quickly added that many parts of project remain “fuzzy” at this point.
Klemme said that CHS needs to do more work on understanding the feasibility of the proposal. He told the board when a plan had been put together it would be rolled out to the community.
Carley and Klemme both favored applying to the state for a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) to assist in the planning process.
The deadline for the CDBG application is May 22, Klemme told the board. The consultant said applying for the planning grant would require public notice in the newspaper and holding a public hearing. It will also require action by the board at the May meeting.
Vickie Campbell said she thought there was interest from four or five investors locally and asked about the return on investment.
Carley, who is also a certified public accountant, said the details would emerge as she put together a pro forma on the finances of the project.
The size of the assisted living facility was also briefly discussed. Carley said if it was decided a larger facility was needed, a plan to move the driveway closer to the highway might be a possibility. This would allow more room to construct a facility in front of the present nursing home.
Village trustee Shayne Chapman advised Carley to check with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on the setback requirements for Highway 61.
Carley also told the board that plans for an assisted living facility might include a large meeting room that could be made available to the public.
Klemme told the board that CDA would do the work to submit the application for the planning grant at a cost of $900. Carley said she would approach her board about covering that cost at their meeting later in the month.
The board passed a motion to use Soldiers Grove CDC (Community Development Committee) money to pay for the cost of the grant application, while Carley approached her board.
Klemme also informed the board that the state will only fund half of the planning grant with CDBG funds and those applying for that grant must produce matching money. In this case, Carley and Klemme proposed that CHS might pay half the matching amount and the village, perhaps through CDC funds, would pay the other half.
In addition to approving the work for the planning grant application, the village also adopted an updated Citizen Participation Plan and an Anti-Displacement Policy, which will be required by the state as part of the planning grant application.
In other business, the Soldiers Grove Village Board:
• heard a report from the fire department on damage to the pump on the bush truck following its use at a fire Wednesday night and approved getting it fixed
• heard in the CDC report that one of the two outstanding loans had a payment of $1,200 made on it after a long period without payment, while the other was current on payments of interest only as outlined in the agreement
• also heard in the CDC report that both the Roth House and Country Gardens were behind in room tax payments from the last two quarters of 2014
• received a report of a safety complaint on the children’s slide located in the Olson Subdivision and agreed to look into it
• granted a picnic license for retail alcohol sales to the Glad Farms Pony Club for the upcoming BMW Club Rally in Soldiers Grove