It's just in the preliminary stages, but groundwork is being laid for construction of a new long-term care facility with assisted-living in Wells.
Andy Huhta, administrator at Parkview Care Center in Wells, says paperwork was submitted to the state Department of Health last week to try and clear the first hurdle.
He says Parkview is seeking exclusion from a moratorium on the licensing and medical assistance certification of new nursing home beds and projects that exceed $1.4 million.
"Our current system is small and land-locked. There's no room for development," he says.
Also, Huhta says their facility will not be able to meet the needs of "baby-boomers."
The skilled-level nursing home was built in 1961 and there was an addition in 1967.
"The new facility would have more private rooms; there would be no more double-bunking," he says. "It would be a high tech building with all the bells and whistles. It's the wave of the future."
The Wells nursing home is owned by ElderCare of Minnesota in Little Falls, which operates facilities in Adrian, Truman and Winnebago. Huhta and developer John Dettloff of Craig Co. in Wayzata have been keeping city officials informed about the proposed project.
The two have attended recent Economic Development Authority and Housing Redevelopment Authority board meetings.
Dettloff says his company began working with ElderCare officials on the proposed project in March of this year.
"We still have to deal with a lot of issues. We'll carry them through the process from beginning to end, helping with site location, design, financing and getting the permits needed," he says.
Parkview officials are expected to know next April whether the state has approved their request.
"I think we'll have a good chance because we're reducing from a capacity of 55 residents to 40," says Huhta.
In addition, the new facility would have 20 assisted-living units.
While a location would still need to be selected, it's anticipated 7 to 10 acres would be needed for the new nursing home estimated to cost $6 million to $8 million.
"We have received a lot of encouragement from city officials," says Dettloff. "We want to enhance the senior housing market, retain jobs and bring economic development to the city."