But with little fanfare. After visiting Olla at the Hilton, I walked a few feet to the assisted living where the first couple moved in today. They will stay tonight. Their children were there for the move. Shirley taught me piano forty years ago. She brought her grand piano into the assisted living, and it is in great shape. Beautiful. It will sit in the common area. Their apartment looks great. Jerome and Shirley have been needing assisted living for some time. It is a great feeling to have them stay in town where they belong. They are great people.
This is a great victory. Head RN at the Hilton Peggy and new hire Kindi worked in the otherwise vacant building, trying to get things set up. Furniture has yet to arrive for the common areas. Nine of the 19 apartments are already rented. This is so much fun. Kindi and Peggy are nervous. And yes, there still are some construction issues to be worked out with the contractor. But the bottom line is: Several people who badly need care but who don't qualify for the nursing home are going to be taken care of by the end of next week.
The opening of the assisted living is the fulfillment of a dream many of us had three years ago. I never imagined that it would be fulfilled in such a big way. I am especially thrilled that Kindi and others like her are there to take care of the people. They will be wonderful.
My co-conspirator Gloria and I were involved early on in getting things moving. However, once the project was approved, others took over and I checked out. I don't give a rip what color the carpet is. But others must.
The building of the assisted living has made Hilton administrator Barry Robertson's life a lot more complicated than it would otherwise have been. Jen Derosier has had to learn a new field so she can manage the place. Same for city manager Lisa Liden, who has had to oversee the project in her first months on the job. Hats off to Fertile EDA committee member Reid Jensrud for his knowledge of construction issues, which he applied during hours of inspections, which yielded several needed improvements.
Late city manager John Frohrip leant his approval to the project and got the bonding through with maximum efficiency.
I think we as a community can be proud of the new building. We have ratcheted up the level of care we provide our seniors. We will keep about 20 people in the community who otherwise would have had to move away. And we have a few new jobs to boot.
Even though there was no celebration, and the building was empty but for Jerome and Shirley's children, as well as Peggy and Kindi, I felt in a celebratory mood as I walked out the front door.
"Tonight's meal is tater tot hot dish!" Peggy lamented. "It should have been lobster!"