Raymond Assisted Living project stalled, but for good reason

Raymond Assisted Living Facility

It was back during the November elections in 2016, the Raymond Assisted Living project was passed by public vote to approve financing for construction and equipping a 12-unit home for the aged by the city of Raymond. With the question passing by the Raymond community with 70 percent support, the Raymond Assisted Living Committee began the next phase in bringing an assisted living home to Raymond. Now in 2018, the project has stalled, but not for lack of trying, in fact, it has stalled so that the project is done correctly.

“I wish the project wasn’t moving so slow, but if it is going to move, I want it to be done right. I think it’s the best way because if you try to run things through really fast, it has problems down the road. And that is what we are trying to avoid,” Raymond Assisted Living Committee member Ron Ulferts said.

The project is currently at the stage of working through the numbers for a lessee and negotiating a contract for the management of facility that will be owned by the city. According to Ulferts, three possible lessees are working with the committee for final numbers and putting together a final package. But it all comes out to balancing the numbers, he said.

On the city’s end, they are looking at the total cost of the facility and the pay-back as they lease it out. On the other hand, the lessee is looking at the cost factor per unit so they also can be profitable with the facility. “You get to a point where you don’t seem to move and you go back and forth,” Ulferts said on being exactly at that point.

In one give and take, the committee is looking at developing from the proposed 12-unit facility to a 16-unit facility, which would bring the cost per unit down for the lessee, Ulferts said.

Another possible change for the project would be to eliminate the memory care unit, having originally been set to occupy 5 of the 12 units in the facility. Eliminating that unit would alleviate the amount of staff required and bring costs down for the lessee. However, Ulferts is not in favor of this option. “I think we started this project because the local people told us we had memory care problems. And the projections of memory care have gone up so high percentage wise. I find it really hard to cut the memory care to drop a few dollars and get a building up out there. I don’t think the public would be served with what they voted for, in my opinion,” he said.

Getting the right lessee in and making sure the project’s developed with the best care and detail as possible, the committee will keep on the right path until the very end. The committee is hoping to get a pre-lease for 10 years. When they do accomplish this, the next steps will be taking the project to bid and for construction to start. The committee members include Ulferts, Wilma Boonstra, Larry Macht, Cameron Macht, and representing the city, Raymond Mayor Ardell Tensen and council member Brad Heida.

The committee has been working with an architect through the Widseth Smith Nolting firm since the beginning to develop the plans for the facility. The plans were developed before the 2016 elections so the public had the most accurate information on the project before it went to vote.

The Raymond Assisted Living home will go up in the First Street South Addition in Raymond. The facility will occupy Lots 12 and 13, which is approximately 51,000 sq. ft. As by approved at the 2016 vote, the city is authorized to issue its general obligation bonds in an amount, not to exceed, $1,800,000 in financing for the project.

“The idea of what the committee and the council has is when we build this thing we want to build good, we don’t want to be looking at maintenance down the road 5, 10, 15 years down the road. We expect to put the project together with top-quality stuff,” Ulferts said.

Mixing this goal and trying to find the right lessee, the committee will continue to take the necessary time needed to bring the community of Raymond what they were promised and what is needed.

The Raymond-Prinsburg News by Billie Jo Rassat

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