The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 12, 2014

Senior housing plan picks up steam

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CAMANCHE — The likelihood of a senior housing development in the city of Camanche is gaining momentum as residents came out in full support of the first installment of focus group meetings hosted by Park Vista Senior Housing Management.

Two of the four focus groups met Wednesday at the Camanche Fire Station, and Camanche resident and senior housing advocate Gerry Wiebers felt satisfied and encouraged by the discussions that followed.

“I felt it went really well,” Wiebers said. “They asked a lot of questions and answered a lot of questions and they (Park Vista) were happy with the attendance. I would have liked to see more.”

Around 25 people attended the meetings on Wednesday, but he is hoping the next round of meetings, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, will be better attended and expects that as more people talk about what they learned from Park Vista president Julie Lonergan, the more people will be interested in voicing their opinions and concerns.

That is exactly what Lonergan is looking for from the residents of Camanche.

During a March presentation to the Camanche City Council, Lonergan expressed the importance of the focus groups because it offered “a better gauge of what (residents) are looking for and what the need is in the city.”

According to Wiebers that need is great. As a major advocate for senior housing, he has worked with city officials for years to develop something within city limits.

“I’ve been after the past councils and last couple mayors and said ‘hey we need some senior housing in this community,’” Wiebers said. “And, I have sat on the phone with each and every (current) councilman and the mayor and they were all on board. Everybody I’ve talked to agrees that we need it.”

He says that need stems from the people who are born and raised in Camanche, raise their families, volunteer their time to the city, support local organizations and the local schools, and when they are older and need assistance they can no longer stay in the town they’ve always called home.

For him, those who have committed so much of their time and life to the city of Camanche should have the opportunity to stay there as long as they choose to.

“Camanche needs senior housing,” Wiebers said. “That’s why these meetings are important. So that people show that yeah, they are behind the idea.”

Amy Kent can be reached at amykent@clintonherald.com.