MIDWAY — Plans for a new nursing home and retirement community took another step forward recently when a site was purchased just outside the limits of this northern Woodford County city.
Christian Care Communities, Kentucky's largest faith-based provider of senior housing and long-term care services, has acquired 31 acres on East Stephens Street across from Midway College. The property is known as Galtee Farm.
The land was purchased from the estate of Liam Gallagher for $591,000, according to a deed filed in July in the Woodford County clerk's office. Gallagher, a Lexington resident, died in October.
The purchase advances the efforts of the Midway Nursing Home Task Force, a local nonprofit that has worked since 1999 to gain support for a nursing home.
"I've always thought that if it was meant to be, it would eventually happen," said task force member Doris Nave, a Midway native. "A lot of people have been praying over it."
Keith Knapp, president and chief executive officer of Christian Care Communities, based in Louisville, said the acquisition "is a major milestone in the life of the project."
Established in 1884, Christian Care Communities employs more than 600 people and serves 2,200 seniors in Bowling Green, Corbin, Grayson, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro and Taylorsville.
In the past 11 years, a number of sites were discussed for "the homeplace," as local people have referred to the project. As late as last year, there was talk of putting the home on property owned by Midway College. But the purchased site is bigger and allows more room for the homeplace, and the college doesn't have to part with any land for its future growth, Knapp said.
The home would include 23 skilled nursing beds, restoring the services that were discontinued a decade ago by what was then known as Woodford Memorial Hospital in Versailles (now Bluegrass Community Hospital).
There would also be 12 licensed care rooms for people with dementia or other cognitive impairments, and 12 assisted-living apartments.
In addition, a parklike area will be developed for nursing-home residents and Midway residents. A second phase of development will include patio homes for more independent seniors.
The cost of the project is not known, but Christian Care Communities will start a capital campaign to raise money to assist in construction and to establish an endowment for charitable care. Knapp hopes that construction will start in 2011 and that the home would open in 2012.
Reese Design Collaborative, a Louisville architectural firm that has received national recognition for some of its previous work in designs for elder care, has been retained to develop the project. The firm designed the Episcopal Church Home Memory Care Center in Louisville.
The nursing home and retirement community would have a Green House Project design.
Pioneered at a United Methodist retirement community in Tupelo, Miss., Green House or small house design breaks away from the more institutional nursing home design with buildings that are smaller — holding 10 to 12 people each — and more residential in appearance, feel and comfort.
Residents would sleep in their own bedrooms, eat home-cooked meals and pursue their hobbies.
Christian Care Communities has applied for a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to replicate the Green House model, Knapp said.
The Midway facility also will link the needs of seniors with the needs of an institution of higher learning.
For example, students from Midway's nursing program will have the opportunity to complete part of their clinical training in geriatrics at the nursing home. And residents of the retirement community might be able to take college classes of interest to them or pursue a degree.
Midway College and Christian Care have been working together to plan how the two could work toward a college-linked retirement community.
The next step is to meet with neighboring property owners — perhaps as early as this month — to solicit their comments, Knapp said.
Christian Care Communities also plans to ask Midway City Council to annex the land into the city limits. And the property will need to be rezoned from agricultural uses.