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Senior care's priority for new housing project

The developers, local officials and well-wishers gathered Wednesday for a kick-off to construction on Preferred Senior Living, a new 40-unit senior housing project on the east side of Hwy. 65 just west of the Ellsworth Country Club. Greg Johnson and Pete Kociscak, partners in Senior Properties of Ellsworth, in the foreground at left, were joined by representatives of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Ellsworth. (Photo by Bill Kirk)1 / 2
Preferred Senior Living is a new 40-unit senior housing project for which construction is now underway on Ellsworth’s northwest side. It’s estimated the build will take eight-to-nine months. (Submitted artwork)2 / 2

When 40 new housing units rise on Ellsworth’s northwest horizon, they’ll stand ready to serve area seniors needing care.

Preferred Senior Living will offer its residents a homelike environment, complete with a choice of living arrangements, meal and medical services, as well as activities and communications, both internally and externally. The kick-off to construction on five acres of a 40-acre parcel between Hwy. 65 and the Ellsworth Country Club was held Wednesday.

“We had marketing firms do some research and it showed a demand for this here,” said Greg Johnson, co-owner with Pete Kociscak.

The nearly 30,000 square foot development, being built by the partners (who have a combined 50 years of experience in the building industry with Preferred Properties), will feature 36 studio-plus units and four one-bedroom units, Johnson said. He explained the former are slightly larger than the average studio-type setting found at the three other complexes the pair own, in Coon Rapids (90 units), Mahtomedi (after which the Ellsworth project is modeled, with 48 units) and Maplewood (100 units)--suburbs of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

The units will be divided according to the kind of care needed—moderate acuity or memory care—varying, depending on existing market conditions, he said. Moderate acuity occupants are free to come and go (applying to 24 of the units initially), while those in the memory care part are under a more controlled environment (16 of the units so designated).

“Our goal is to provide a continuum of care that allows the resident to age in place as their needs increase,” information supplied to the Herald about the project states.

Toward this end, the facility will have licensed nurses on-call 24/7. Johnson estimated the staff will number 20-25, working in morning, afternoon and evening shifts, once filled. Nurses who dispense medications will maintain weekday work hours, but be on-call on a 24-hour basis. The average age of the units’ population will be around 85-86, many six months to a year from needing more elaborate care.

For more please read the July 17 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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