The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 20, 2014

Senior housing development would be benefit

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CAMANCHE — Camanche residents are one step closer to seeing a senior housing development in their city limits, and it has not cost them anything to reach this level.

Initial development opportunities threatened the city’s budget with an upfront cost of $12,000 to conduct a market analysis of Camanche, but after learning of a second option, the first phase of a feasibility study has already been conducted free of charge.

Julie Lonergan, of Park Vista Living Senior Housing, visited with the Camanche City Council on Tuesday to discuss how the city wants to approach a senior living facility, a development residents and officials have advocated for several years.

“This is something we’re definitely interested in moving forward with,” Lonergan said. “To see something like this in Camanche, we know this is something that many of your residents have been looking for, for quite some time.”

So much time in fact, that the City Council was committed to spending the $12,000 on a feasibility study through Senior Housing Consultants because the council felt the need exceeded the risk.

And after the preliminary study results from Park Vista were produced, city leaders were reassured that the community has what it takes to support a senior living center.

According to Mayor Ken Fahlbeck, Lonergan’s preliminary study was rated on a 30-point scale, which measured a 10-mile radius from the Camanche market area. The city was rated at 19.6, confirming the need of some type of assisted or independent living is, in fact, an asset to the community.

“We were rated 19.6 out of 30 which is pretty good,” Fahlbeck said. “That was just the first step so as this goes deeper I think we’re going to see that the need is really strong.”

The next phase of the study will be to reach out to the community through organized focus groups, a part of the phase that Lonergan feels is the most important of the market analysis.

As a native and current resident of Clinton, Lonergan expressed her knowledge of the area as an asset that she believes will provide a different look to the market that an outside developer would not grasp.

“Hopefully being a resident of Clinton I can bring something as far as insider knowledge to this,” Lonergan said.

That “insider knowledge” has already proved to be beneficial as Lonergan already knows what the competing senior living centers offer, a supply she said is insufficient to the demand.

She expects the second phase of the study will be completed in two or three weeks when she will return to the Camanche City Council to discuss the next step.

With an opportunity to investigate the area with no cost, City Administrator Tom Roth said he couldn’t pass on the opportunity, and he appreciated that a local company wanted to get involved.

“I think it’s a really positive development because of two things,” Roth said. “Number one we don’t have to upfront that cost for the study, and let’s face it $12,000 is real money to anybody. And, number two, if you do have a local business that wants to be involved I think that’s a real positive on many different levels.”