Tradition’s amenities, infrastructure put it in the running for a veterans’ nursing home
Source: TCPALM.COM, By Nicole Rodriguez
Posted July 7, 2014 at 1:19 p.m., updated July 7, 2014 at 7 p.m.
PORT ST. LUCIE — Tradition’s proximity to highways and hospitals, along with its many amenities and highly skilled workforce has propelled a 28-acre site in the area to the top of the state’s list of ideal locations for its next veterans’ nursing home.
The St. Lucie County-owned property garnered the best ratings from a nine-member Florida Department of Veterans Affairs site selection committee that met last week. The committee rated the location based on a number of factors, including access to medical facilities, lodging and major roadways. Six counties nominated a total of nine sites. A Marion County site came in at a close second place, state officials said.
“St. Lucie County has a very good property in a good part of the state and met all the minimum criteria,” said State Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman and committee member Steven Murray.
The site for the proposed 120-bed facility is 1.7 miles from Tradition Medical Center and 40 miles from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Riviera Beach.
Although the facility would be staffed with medical personnel, “It’s always nice to have a medical care facility close to you,” Murray said.
The committee also considered access to highways, retail shops, restaurants and hotels for visiting family members, Murray said.
The proposed location on the southern side of Tradition Parkway at Stony Creek Way is two miles from Interstate 95 and six miles from the Florida Turnpike interchange. The nearest hotel, Homewood Suites is just one and a half miles away. The Tradition area also offers a wide variety of retail shops and dining.
The committee also considered infrastructure. Sewer, electricity, communications and irrigation quality water are available from south side of Tradition Parkway and a water main is along the eastern boundary of property. The county will contribute $500,000 to ready the land for construction, including extending utilities and building an 830-foot driveway to the main part of the parcel, county officials said.
The committee also deemed St. Lucie County satisfied criteria for affordable housing for employees. A skilled workforce of medical professionals also exists in the area, Murray said. The facility is expected to hire more than 100 employees, he said.
The size of the facility will be dictated by the actual chosen site, so it has yet to be determined, Murray said. The facility will be single occupancy rooms. Construction costs haven’t been determined, either.
The last state veterans’ nursing home, which opened in 2010 in St. Augustine, cost approximately $31 million. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will pay for 65 percent of the construction costs and the state will pay for 35 percent.
The proposed facility would serve an area encompassing all of St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, Okeechobee and Highlands counties; as well as portions of Palm Beach, Brevard, Glades, Polk, Hendry and Osceola counties. The region includes an estimated 211,647 veterans. The veterans’ service area is described as a 75-mile radius from where the nursing home gets built.
The site will not be an assisted living facility, Murray said.
“This is above the requirements for an assisted living facility,” Murray said. “Some (veterans) may be ambulatory, but the level of care is beyond what their family members can provide.” Half of the beds will be designated for veterans with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which is the case at other state veterans’ nursing homes, Murray said.
Applications for the home will likely start a few months before any home is opened. There is no minimum age a veteran must reach before being admitted, Murray said. The home will require a veteran be a Florida resident with an honorable discharge. He or she must also have a certification of need from a VA doctor. Around 90 percent of veterans in state facilities are male and most are World War II and Korean War veterans. There are waiting lists for every veterans’ nursing home in the state, but the wait isn’t long, because of high turnover, Murray said.
The committee’s score sheets will be officially tabulated and the recommendation will go to the agency’s executive director Col. Mike Prendergast, who will give his recommendation to Gov. Rick Scott and his cabinet at an Aug. 19 meeting. Scott and his cabinet will have the final vote.
If you want to live in Tradition, contact Realtors Linda, Jeremy & Elyse Glass of The Glass Group, RE/MAX Masterpiece Realty GlassGroupRE@gmail.com 772-206-0246.
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