Manistee County voters will decide whether to approve a $24 million bond for improvements and an addition to the 60-year-old Manistee County Medical Care Facility.
The project includes a new addition of 32,000 square feet over two floors; renovations of the current buildings to provide 74 private rooms and 13 semi-private rooms; improved heating and cooling systems; a new elevator; furniture and equipment; site enhancements and professional services. The final concept allows for a V-shape in the end corridors so staff can easily see patients.
The nursing home has been planning for the project since 2019, but COVID has put a stop to plans. The new plans would allow for more private rooms and a memory care unit.
“We need more space in the building,” says Joe Coleman, administrator of the establishment. “We need more private rooms. This is what consumers expect these days. And we still have four beds here.
Meanwhile, the retirement home experiences a loss of income. There have been no new admissions for several months.
“We don’t want a building full of people we can’t take care of, so we want to make sure everyone here is taken care of and that we have enough help for that,” Coleman says. “We are looking to the future. We hope that the current staffing situation is a temporary issue and not something that will last for years and years.
Although the local population is aging, this means a future increase in the number of potential patients.
“We are trying to prepare for them. You know, we hope, we hope a lot of baby boomers can stay home as they get older, but we want to be there for those who can’t,” Coleman says.
The cost to taxpayers, described in bond language, is approximately $0.34 per $1,000 of taxable property value, for the first year. Then it is estimated at $1.00 for every $1,000 until the end of the bond’s life in 20 years. Rounding 0.34 mils is estimated to generate over $400,000 in the first year.
“The feasibility study shows that in normal times we should be able to pay for the project through operations,” Coleman says.
If that doesn’t happen, the facility will have to downsize.
“We could always try again. Hopefully that won’t be necessary,” Coleman says. “Otherwise, I think what we’re doing is looking at having a much smaller building, reducing the bed capacity.”