Senior living, day care complex planned for northwest Brainerd – Brainerd Dispatch

A proposed senior living facility in northwest Brainerd will work to achieve two aims at once — needs for both housing and child care.

The Foundation for Health Care Continuums, a Sartell-based nonprofit that provides housing and health care services to seniors, has plans to build a 110-unit senior living facility off Beaver Dam Road. The Country Manor campus will have 92 senior apartments and 18 memory care units, along with a child care facility with spots for eight infants, 14 toddlers, 40 preschoolers and 30 school-aged children.

Country Manor began in 1970 as a 60-bed nursing facility and has now expanded to two campuses in Sartell and St. Joseph’s with a combined 241 senior living units and a variety of other amenities, like clinics, convenience stores, wellness centers, pharmacies and chapels.

“What we’ve learned over the years is folks love to enjoy life, and that’s our mission — enriching lives by providing superior health care and service,” Country Manor CEO Brian Kelm told the Brainerd City Council Monday, June 7. “… We are excited to bring that culture, that idea to Brainerd.”

Kelm envisions walking trails around the Brainerd campus so residents can enjoy nature, but during the winter months, all amenities will be connected, meaning residents can live in a temperature-controlled environment without having to brave the cold.

This project has been in the works for about two years and is coming closer to fruition with action taken by the council Monday night. Council members agreed to rezone the three parcels of land north of Twins Street and the Northtown development from rural agricultural district to planned unit development district.

The council also unanimously approved the Country Manor development stage plan, with the condition it must meet residential lighting standards under the city’s zoning code.

Council member Tad Erickson, liaison to the planning commission, said some residents brought concerns forward when the planning commission discussed the issue May 26. Some were concerned about how close the facility would be to the homes on Twins Street and how much of a buffer there would be in between. Erickson said there is already some vegetation in place for a buffer, and neighborhood concerns seemed to be quelled.

The Country Manor development planned for northwest Brainerd will include 92 senior-living and 18 memory care units, along with day care slots for 92 children of various ages. Rendering courtesy of GLTA Architects

The Country Manor development planned for northwest Brainerd will include 92 senior-living and 18 memory care units, along with day care slots for 92 children of various ages. Rendering courtesy of GLTA Architects

Traffic for the development will come off Beaver Dam Road to a platted road, which will not connect with any Northtown roads. Council member Mike O’Day asked if just one road in and out was enough from a public safety standpoint.

Community Development Director David Chanski said staff and developers have talked at length with police, fire and building officials to make sure the plans were up to code in terms of public safety, engineering and utilities.

City Engineer Paul Sandy said there were some concerns about increased traffic on Beaver Dam Road and the potential for rear-end collisions, so Crow Wing County officials will require a left turn lane to be installed at the entrance to Country Manor off Beaver Dam Road. With Crow Wing County’s cost-match policy, the county will pay 25% of the construction fees for the left turn lane, while the developers will foot the rest of the bill.

Council members Gabe Johnson and Tiffany Stenglein both praised Kelm and his team for bringing this development to Brainerd.

“This is very exciting for the city right now,” Johnson said. “… These 110 units are really needed in our area. It will help free up, hopefully, 110 homes that other people can move into because we have a real housing crunch right now. So thank you for choosing to develop in Brainerd.”

“I also want to thank you for including the day care slots,” Stenglein added, “because we also have a day care crunch, and I’m sure that you will have a waitlist for those infant spots.”

With the approval of the development stage plan, City Attorney Joe Langel will now work with those at Country Manor on a developers agreement. Developers will then come back to the planning commission and council — likely in a couple months, Chanski said — to get approval for the final development stage plan before construction can begin.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.