by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Senior housing continues to be a focus of the Norwood Young America City Council.
On Monday, council members committed an additional $30,000 for the proposed addition to Peace Villa and Harbor housing projects.
The funds, like $40,000 previously submitted in February, would go towards upfront costs associated with an application to USDA Rural Development for a loan to fund the project.
Should the project not move forward, the city would not be reimbursed but would receive all $70,000 if it gets the go-ahead.
NYA City Administrator Tom Simmons said the Harbor fund still has $80,000 in it after the previous deduction.
The project, which exceeds $2.5 million, would provide for memory care and enhanced assisted living with 24 to 36 units just east of the current campus for use by residents dealing with memory loss or needing enhanced care beyond what is provided at the campus at present.
Peace Villa was built in 1978 and has 61 apartments that currently house 110 seniors, and there is a waiting list for new residents.
The Harbor was constructed in 2006 to accommodate those who needed additional care but may have been living at Peace Villa and wanted to stay in the community.
Supporting the project at council were Peace Villa Housing Manager Brenda Schmitz, Harbor Housing Manager Lori Hilgers, Peace Villa VP Perry Forst and about 15 residents in support of the project.
So far $28,000 of the previously approved $40,000 has been spent, according to Forst.
“As we’ve gone through the process we want to make sure we have everything lined up before we start,” he said. “We feel it would be inappropriate if we run out of gas in the middle of the race so we’ve been planning everything we could without spending money at this point.”
A market study has been completed and the group has acquired purchasing agreements in place for the land to maintain connections in the campus, which are contingent on financing.
Among the items in the next phases are the hiring of an architect to design the building, a $20,000 feasibility study, appraisal, environmental audits and land acquisition.
“We’ve got $35,000 tied up in economic forecasting for this project,” said Forst. “As we’re going through this process, if the forecasts and things like that appear to not be a viable project, we would not necessarily get into those (other phases)… It’s only good news if we get to spend the money, but we didn’t want to start the project unless we knew the funds were there.”
Schmitz said the group is ready to put forth the effort to continue acquiring a USDA Rural Development loan, because of both the likelihood of receiving it and their fixed rate, which is currently at 3.2 percent.
“It’s the best financial option for the facility,” she said.
Council members had several questions prior to the approval regarding the timeline and whether they would be asked for more funds.
Schmitz assured the council they would not return for more funds and that they anticipate submitting the grant in September and could potentially break ground next spring.
In other news, council members approved the plans and specifications for 2013 infrastructure improvement projects and set July 22 as the public hearing regarding disorderly conduct and alcohol consumption.
The NYA City Council will next meet on July 8 at 6:30 p.m.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at firstname.lastname@example.org.