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Memory care center looking to come to Morris area

MORRIS – A memory care facility is going through preliminary steps with the city of Morris in hopes of constructing a facility in connection with the local Park Pointe facilities.

Horizon Healthcare is proposing a 60-unit memory care facility on 3.2 acres of the property to the east of Park Pointe Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center and Park Pointe Senior Living complex on Edgewater Drive and Dupont Avenue.

The idea is to make the project a continuation of the existing campus, Administrator Suzanne Day said Thursday. The units would be apartment-type units, she said.

“It will certainly be beneficial,” she said.

As the company has researched the need for a memory center, Day said officials have learned there has been a need for a while and many have left the area due to the lack of local memory care services.

The Morris Planning Commission approved Wednesday a planned unit development as well as the required subdivision plat for the new project. With a PUD, all major changes have to be approved by the City Council. The existing health care facility was a PUD.

The city’s development review committee already recommended the project and now the commission’s recommendation will go to the full City Council Monday.

With the approval, the commission asked for a five-year timeline for completion of the project. Day told the commission this would not be a problem.

Day said Thursday the organization is hoping for an April start, with a 10- to 12-month construction completion time frame.

A public hearing was held prior to the approval Wednesday where neighboring resident Regina Littral said she would prefer the new facility be more to the north since she faces the currently empty lot and enjoys her privacy.

She also expressed concern about increasing the traffic on Dupont even more with the facility. With the current complex and White Oak Elementary School nearby, traffic already is heavy, she said.

Commission members expressed understanding of her concerns, but the project follows the city’s plan for the area.

“As far back as I can remember, that area has been identified as a possible commercial development,” city attorney Scott Belt said at the meeting. “I appreciate your concerns, but want to point out that their request in their application is consistent with [the city’s] comprehensive plan.”

The area is zoned Business-3, allowing the construction of the memory care center. Although the area is near residential, it also is surrounded by commercial development off Route 6. The current senior facility and the new project provide a nice transition between the commercial and residential proprieties, City Engineer Mike Hoffman of Teska Associates.

Hoffman also pointed out that other, more intrusive businesses are allowed there under the B-3 zoning such as a car dealership, auto garage or a hotel.

“The residents who will be in the new facility won’t be driving. Yes, there will be employees. Yes, this will generate more traffic, but compared to what could be presented by right, there will be much less traffic,” Hoffman said.

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