Conceptually, members of the Eagle Town Board want to step up with a sizeable donation for the proposed Castle Peak Senior Care Community.
Realistically, the town will be hard pressed to deliver hard cash.
The $24 million project is planned for Eagle and represents a partnership between Eagle County and Augustana Care, a Minnesota-based firm that develops and operates such projects throughout the nation. The county has purchased a 5-acre site at Eagle Ranch — located north of Brush Creek Elementary School at the Capitol Street/Sylvan Lake Road T-intersection — where the proposed center will be located.
The proposed first phase of the project would include 64 beds. That breaks down as 22 skilled nursing units, 20 assisted living units, 12 memory care units and 10 transitional care/rehabilitation units. The team assembled for the Castle Peak plan have indicated that breakdown is a modest beginning that their research indicates would be successful.
The county has committed $6 million toward the project. The money is coming from the county’s Lake Creek Village apartments assets. The county’s initial expenditure was $1.6 to purchase the Eagle Ranch location. Augustana has pledged an additional $1 million toward construction. The Castle Peak project is pursuing a $12 million loan from the federal government what will be paid over a 40-year term through revenues generated at the care facility.
But even with all those assets committed, the project still faces a $4.4 million deficit that will be tackled with a fund-raising campaign. That effort hasn’t yet been launched, but the people working the campaign informally reached out to the Eagle Town Board Tuesday night.
Newly hired Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney noted he is a member of the fund-raising committee and he has been tasked with requesting donations from various local municipalities.
“I presume that the first question other town boards will ask is ‘What has Eagle committed?’ and their possible willingness to fund the gap will be based on the amount we offer up,” noted Stavney.
He noted that the Castle Peak Senior Care Community is an important project for the town because it addresses a growing need in the Eagle County community and it will provide an economic boon for the community.
“I think it will be favorable if this board would commit to $100,000 from the capital projects fund from 2014 toward this project,” said Stavney.
With that said, however, Stavney noted the town’s capital resources have been depleted with the Eby Creek Road project currently under construction.
“Our capital fund balance at the end of 2013 is projected to be $924,181.”
Stavney noted that in preparation for a formal donation question, county staff met with town staff to work out construction fee charges for the senior care project. He said if the town board was willing to reduce some fees and waive others, the project could see up to $445,000 in cost savings. Members of the town board noted that could be a workable solution for Eagle’s contribution.
“We need to show leadership, but our financial situation is not the greatest right now,” said town board member Scott Turnipseed. He said Eagle’s capital needs are already under-funded and it will be difficult to come up with actual cash. However, said Turnipseed, by reducing fees the town is making a meaningful contribution that will help the project’s bottom line.
“I think this is not you typical development. It is a not-for-profit community need,” he said.
“We need to find a way to help this out. It is in our best interest to do so,” said town board member Anne McKibbin.
Mayor Yuri Kostick suggested staff work with the senior care development team to find significant fee reductions and then took at a multi-year cash donation. For instance, Kostick said the town could commit to a $30,000 donation for three years
Before they make an actual commitment, town board members noted they will need to study Eagle’s 2014 proposed budget. But members clearly voiced support for the senior care project and a desire to help bridge the funding gap.
“I support as much as we can contribute,” said Kostick. “The leading gift is important and we are leading the other municipalities and metro districts.”