Dawn Senior Living looks to bring facility to AuGres
John Fischer Staff writer
AuGRES — Dawn Senior Living, a recently registered non-profit corporation (as of August) out of AuGres, has taken the first steps to bring an assisted/independent living senior citizen complex to the area.
According to Dawn Senior Living Chairman, Pastor James Falsey, Dawn Senior Living was started after unsuccessful searches to find a private developer to provide a facility for upscale senior living.
He added the purpose of being non-profit is to allow low-income seniors an op-portunity for housing in the complex as well.
“The area here tends to be a senior industry,” Falsey said. “But without a complex in the area to help seniors, we end up losing those in the community as they develop medical needs and needs requiring assisted living conditions.”
For this purpose, a board comprised of volunteers, community leaders and interested parties, was established to begin searching for a feasible location in downtown AuGres where seniors would be close to restaurants, churches, post offices, banks and many more destinations desired by aging citizens, says Falsey.
He also stated that while nothing is written in stone, the board has been exploring the possibility of securing one location that sits behind the St. Mark Catholic Church on Court Street in AuGres.
“The location is perfect,” Falsey said. “It’s around everything.
“The school is right across the street, so it would open up the possibility of developing a program where senior citizens could work with youngsters.”
According to Falsey, the board would like to design the building in a similar manner as the Brook Retirement Community (BRC) in Glad-win, which offers single/double independent living quarters and assisted living rooms.
“They (BRC) have a lot of features in their building,” Falsey said. “Their communication system is set up with intercoms outside of each door.
“This allows a nurse or someone on staff to check in on residents if they haven’t been seen during the day without invading their privacy. They (BRC) also have an assortment of different amenities like a little theater and game room.”
In addition, Falsey would like to offer contractual services like meals, housekeeping and laundry to those who don’t particularly like or aren’t able to do it themselves.
Falsey also says that the board would like the facility to function as a senior center where senior citizens not living in the quarters could visit for meals and other interaction like card games.
“We’ve talked about becoming a branch for the Arenac County Council on Aging,” he said.
One problem that has arisen is creating funds for the estimated $2-3 million facility since the board has moved away from their search for private development says the chairman.
“We’ve approached a few individuals who said they were willing to donate money to the project once it gets off the ground,” Falsey said. “But right now we’re waiting to receive our tax exempt status before we do anymore.”
On the table, one person has offered $100,000 once the project is under way, along with a grant that has been offered which would match ten cents on every dollar up to $100,000, says Falsey.
He added while this may be the worst possible time to start a project of this magnitude due to current economic troubles facing the nation, the complex could bring many jobs to the area.
“Contractors are hungry right now,” Falsey said. “Also, it would provide jobs for nurses, janitors and secretaries among others…the project could end up becoming a stimulus to the area.”
He also says that he would like the design of the building to be energy efficient, most notably using geothermal practices.
“I know we have a good running supply of water 40 feet underground at the location we’re looking at,” Falsey said. “So that would make heating exceptionally easy.”
Another possibility is solar energy, which the board would look to the Evergreen Solar Company, which is building a new plant in Midland, to supply.
Private developers that looked into the project were concerned with the ability to reach maximum capacity in a 12-month span, says Falsey, though he believes otherwise.
“I can’t say that we would fill up in 12 months, but I know the interest is high,” he said. “There have been about 16 people who’ve expressed future interest.”
See the whole story in the Oct. 22 edition of "The Arenac County Independent.