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Local

Assisted living facility opening nears in Morrison

Tours will be given at site Saturday

MORRISON – Windsor Manor Assisted Living Community will tentatively open on July 15, but the public will get a sneak peek on Saturday.

Although construction crews are still at work, the new facility, at 403 Scenic St., will be open for tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Windsor Manor has 30 assisted living apartments in addition to The Gardens, a 10-unit area for residents with Alzheimer's disease and other memory impairment issues.

"This is the first and only memory care offering in Morrison," said Danielle Vance, executive director at Windsor Manor. "Everything is tailored to their needs – activities, food, atmosphere – and there is a private enclosed courtyard."

Engineering and technical firm HR Green designs, builds, owns and operates Windsor Manor properties, including the one in Morrison. Senior living communities are only one facet of the firm's diverse book of business. HR Green is working on everything from public works and alternative energy projects to the Wrigley Field expansion in Chicago.

At first, Windsor Manor will hire 15 to 20 full- and part-time staff. Vance reported more than 200 applicants for the jobs. A registered nurse is on call 24/7, and a second-shift licensed practical nurse will be on duty, Vance said.

"Assisted living clientele doesn't need a nurse 24/7, but we do have resident assistance around the clock," Vance said. "All of our staff will be cross-trained so that they can jump into any situation."

Vance said she wants to make Windsor Manor a very visible and vital part of the community.

"We'll have an activity director, but it won't be typical nursing home activities," Vance said. "We will be out and about in the community. It's my goal for us to be an extension of the community."

The activities schedule will include Clinton LumberKings baseball games and restaurant, theater and museum outings, Vance said.

Vance, who is the wife of Morrison schools Superintendent Scott Vance, said she wants some interactions with students, too.

"I plan to use my connection at the schools," Vance said. "I'm a big fan of intergenerational activities."

Pets are allowed at Windsor Manor, which can make a smoother transition to assisted living, Vance believes.

"This is a big decision and big lifestyle change," Vance said. "How can you tell them they can't bring their best friend?"

HR Green finds the rural demographic appealing, and Morrison came up in the firm's market analysis as having a need for assisted living services.

Although aging baby boomers are a booming business, health care projects can be underappreciated for the direct impact they have on overall quality of life.

Whiteside County economic development officials understand the importance of the many pieces to the amenities puzzle that is key to bringing in bigger jobs producers.

Betty Steinert, economic development administrator for Whiteside County, was closely involved in the Windsor Manor project, making it possible to get some incentives for the developer.

"The property they wanted to locate on was not in the [Whiteside-Carroll] enterprise zone," Steinert said. "We have the ability to add property for special situations, so we wrote the application last summer, and submitted it to DCEO for approval."

Steinert said the project met the job-creation requirements, and the nearly $4 million project easily eclipsed the requirement for a $500,000 minimum investment.

Approval for enterprise zone inclusion came in August. Windsor Manor is now eligible for a sales tax exemption on the building materials, and a 5-year real estate abatement on improvements made after the first assessment is made.

Preliminary estimates put the facility's annual property tax at $90,000. But Steinert understands that this type of project brings much more to a community than an additional corporate taxpayer.

"I can't emphasize enough how important these quality-of-life projects are," she said. "Not everyone has family nearby to take care of them as they get older. Many of the residents here will still be active in the community, but these facilities will alleviate a lot of the work and stress for families as the baby boomers get older.”

Windsor Manor tours

The first tours of Windsor Manor Assisted Living Community will be given from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 403 Scenic St. in Morrison. An open house is planned for August.

For more information, call Danielle Vance at 815-772-4031 or visit www.windsor-manor.com.

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