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MOUNT VERNON — A new senior living facility is set to open on Mount Vernon’s east end within the next month.
Danbury Mount Vernon, a 71,000-square-foot complex located at 1575 Venture Dr., is expected to open May 1, executive director Kim Williams said. The facility will include 81 assisted care/memory care units and seven villas, offering a wide range of living opportunities for residents.
The facility is expected to employ 82 people by December 2023.
“I think the mission for us is just to be here to help our seniors grow with folks they’ve lived with and been around their whole lives,” Williams said. “You can be here and enjoy that community, and let us take care of you. Let us do those things that are hard now while you enjoy the rest of your life.”
THE PROCESS: Lemmon Development, based in North Canton, owns and operates 20 Danbury Senior Living facilities around Ohio, according to its website. Three are currently under construction, including the one in Mount Vernon.
Representatives from the company first approached Mount Vernon officials about building here more than two years ago.
Lemmon Development President Tony Perez presented plans to Mount Vernon City Council on March 9, 2020. He asked for a 10-year, 80% tax abatement on the project, which he said would allow developers to move forward and begin construction later that year.
Area Development Foundation President Jeff Gottke vouched for the abatement, explaining to Council members during the meeting that Danbury’s new, $17 million facility would benefit the community. The facility would create jobs, generate economic activity and fill a need in Mount Vernon, Gottke said, based on research he had done prior to the meeting.
“One thing we don’t want to do is saturate the community,” said Gottke, who spoke with established local competitors beforehand to better understand how Danbury’s arrival would impact them.
“From what I hear from our local providers, there is a demand for this, and it won’t over-saturate. The ones I did talk with say they have wait lists, and this fills a need that not all of them do.”
Council voted to approve the abatement on June 8, allowing developers to move forward. The abatement also received approval from the Knox County Commissioners and the two affected school districts: Mount Vernon City Schools and the Knox County Career Center.
Lemmon Development purchased the 5.5-acre property, which sits behind Bob Evans, on July 20.
The Mount Vernon Board of Zoning Appeals granted a zoning variance Sept. 16 that would allow for the construction of Danbury’s residential villas, according to Development Services Manager Lacie Blankenhorn.
The city issued zoning permits for the property Nov. 10, and the Municipal Planning Commission approved a lot split for the property on Nov. 12.
Construction officially began in October. The project has progressed smoothly in the 18 months since, Williams noted, and is now three weeks away from completion.
“Everything is kind of up on the inside, but now they’re putting down the finishing touches – carpet, flooring, cabinetry, getting paint on the walls,” Williams said in late March.
“We’re getting to those last stages. We’re hoping to be able to move our (administrative) offices into the main building around the middle of April.”
Millersburg-based Alpha Construction has served as the lead contractor on the project. Williams said it has remained on-schedule.
“This is the original timetable,” she said. “I don’t think they had any major delays, just some little things. … We’re pretty well on-target.”
WHAT’S NEXT: Danbury Mount Vernon is now accepting residents.
Williams said her office receives calls daily, and the facility’s deposit list is growing.
“It’s not near full yet, but we are really starting to move,” she said in late March. “It’s kind of first-come, first-serve for apartments at several different sizes.”
Danbury offers various types of living arrangements, ranging from $2,950 to $6,875 monthly, depending on the style and level of care needed (the complex will be private or self-pay).
The villas, designed for more independent adults, are 1,309 square feet apiece, featuring two bedrooms, two baths, and a two-car garage. They range from $2,950 to $3,250 monthly.
The apartments vary in size. Some are 350-square-foot studio units, while others are larger, more spacious units nearing 1,400 square feet.
Residents in the facility’s assisted living program will pay $3,700 to $6,100 monthly, depending on the size of the apartment and the level of care needed. This is geared toward adults who “can’t do the hard things anymore,” Williams said, “like shower or put their shoes on, or who need medical assistance.”
Residents in the facility’s memory care program will pay $6,130 to $6,875 monthly. This is geared toward adults in the early stages of dementia, Williams said, who need more continual care.
“It’s a secure unit with a program based around clientele in memory care,” she said.
Many of the facility’s amenities and general benefits will be available to all residents, regardless of lifestyle.
Assisted living staff will monitor call alerts for residents in the villas, and residents can take advantage of activities and transportation offered by the assisted living community. There will be community rooms, spas, salons and billiard rooms – available to all residents, regardless of age or medical needs.
“It’s more geared now towards the generation that’s coming up,” Williams said of the amenities.
The goal, Williams said, is to develop long-term relationships with residents and provide a sense of community. As villa residents need more assistance, they can move into an assisted living unit, while maintaining friendships and familiarity with staff.
“We want to start with seniors who are just starting to want to be somewhere where they can have camaraderie, they can have fun, and are in that 62-to-63-year-old age group,” Williams said.
“So we’re starting there, and then Danbury believes in growing where you live, so you can age here as your needs are bigger and you need more services.”
Danbury utilizes home-health and therapy services, Williams said, and will even offer hospice care when residents reach that stage.
“We look to be able to keep them throughout, until the end,” Williams said. “We are an assisted living facility, so there are specific things that we’re unable to do here, and those are very skilled things, like when someone might need to be in nursing care. (But) unless something like that happens, they’ll stay with us until the end.”
Williams believes that Danbury’s memory care services and recreational amenities will set it apart in the area.
This is what led management to pursue the project in the first place, she said – the opportunity to fill a need in the community.
“There’s such a great need for that in Mount Vernon. …” Williams said. “With our population, there’s a big need for dementia and memory care. And Mount Vernon’s a lovely town, so we had to reach out.”
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