Marathon's long-in-the-works assisted living unit is right on schedule for a projected fall 2018 opening, the town's chief administrative officer confirmed this week.
It's good news for the area's seniors, as demand for such a facility is high, with nearly all of the units already claimed, said Daryl Skworchinski, CAO of the Town of Marathon.
"There's been a lot of progress, which is exciting," he said. "We're actually pouring concrete this week."
"This has been a project that's been on Marathon's books for some 15-odd years."
The last year, however, has seen the project come together, Skworchinski said, thanks to the town finding a number of partnerships that helped them move the build forward.
"We're right on schedule," he said. "We've actually sold out 35 of the 36 planned units already, to local residents as well as some in the region."
"We are slated for opening of the facility in the fall of 2018."
Demand not a surprise
The demand doesn't surprise Skworchinski. The town has done its due diligence, which involved studying demographics, and the needs of seniors.
"Seniors that have that attachment to their home community want to stay in their home community," he said. 'It's generally where their friends and family are."
The town, Skworchinski said, is already looking ahead at a possible expansion of the facility, but that won't come right away.
"We want to make sure we work out some of the kinks in terms of delivering services," he said. "If the demand is there, which I likely think it will be, I think we probably look at year three or four to start that expansion."
"Obviously [it's] much simpler expanding square footage onto an existing building, as opposed to building a 33,000 square foot building."
The facility, Skworchinski said, was designed to support a future expansion.
It's not just Marathon with a demand for an affordable assisted-living facility. The town, Skworchinski said, has been sharing information with other communities in the region that have expressed interest in building on of their own.
"We're all seeing the demand," he said. "We're very willing to share."
"If we can save people some headaches along the way that we've already had, then we'd like to do that," Skworchinski said. "It's encouraging that people look at projects like this, because it means they see a future for their community in terms of sustaining the residents that are there."
Skworchinski made a presentation about the project to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association on Thursday.