City gets update on Parker Oaks

WINNEBAGO — On Tuesday, the Winnebago City Council received an update on the planned renovations for Parker Oaks Retirement Communities, which was recently purchased by Heartland Senior Living.

Heartland Senior Living is a local non-profit community corporation that recently agreed to buy Parker Oaks Retirement Communities in Winnebago, Parkview Care Center in Wells and Truman Senior Living in Truman. The sale is expected to close on Dec. 20.

Mike Trossen, the architect on the project, gave a presentation on the renovations planned for the Parker Oaks campus.

The renovations involve a 12-unit, 16,000 square foot assisted living addition on the Parker Oaks campus, with nine one-bedroom and three two-bedroom additions. According to Trossen, the addition will include community and administrative space to be used not only by Parker Oaks residents, but by members of the community.

Heartland will be looking to start public bids by the end of January, with construction expected to start in late spring or early summer of 2018.

Genesis Classical Academy (GCA), a non-denominational classical Christian school, occupies about 18,000 square feet of the Parker Oaks Communities building. Council member Jean Anderson, who sits on the Heartland Senior Living Board, said that the needs of GCA was taken into consideration when it came to the renovation plans.

“As we all know, the young and the old are fabulous together, and it was our intention to keep Genesis there as long as they want to stay,” said Anderson.

Council members Rick Johnson and Scott Robertson voiced their support for the renovations.

“I’m impressed with the proposal,” said Johnson. “By the looks of it it will turn out very beautiful.”

“Winnebago is just in need of some good news,” said Robertson. “This is it.”

The council agreed to write a letter of support for Heartland to give to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to show that the project is backed by the community.

“It’s going to be wonderful for this community. And not just for Winnebago, but also for Truman and Wells,” said Patrick Rafferty, Heartland Rural Services president and CEO. “This opportunity, with the support of the USDA and communities, is a great opportunity for new and ever-changing senior care.”

In other action, the city council approved the tax levy for 2018. In September, a preliminary tax levy was set at a 17.84 percent increase, with the intention to bring the number down by December.

Over the past four years, said Ziegler, the council has been able to keep the levy increase under four percent each year.

After a brief discussion, the 2018 tax levy was set at 2.94 percent increase.