Is Eagle County ready for next step in senior housing? |

Is Eagle County ready for next step in senior housing?

Who they talked to: Eagle County Housing Coordinator Alex Potente.

What they talked about: The Highland Group of Boulder has completed a study about the need for different kinds of housing for senior citizens in the county. The study estimated demand, how many people would pay full price and how many might require care paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.

The study showed that demand exists for about 105 units of all kinds of senior housing – from “independent living” to full, skilled nursing care – between now and 2013. The study estimated that almost half the demand would be from people with $1 million or more in personal assets.

For private-pay clients, rents for units could range from $4,000 to more than $6,000 per month, depending on the care they require.

What’s next? Potente said it’s time to create a business plan for a center, with options for different sizes of centers. But, Fisher said, that business plan will also require Potente to find out why a senior care center in Kremmling is struggling financially, and why a Glenwood Springs-based home health care company just shut its doors.

Who they talked to: County planner Cliff Simonton.

What they talked about: While Eagle County’s government has no decision-making authority about a proposal to add to the county’s existing wilderness areas, residents are asking for a public forum to voice their opinions about the idea.

While Hidden Gems backers are primarily local residents, there are plenty of opponents, too, primarily people who use the backcountry for snowmobiling and other activities.

The commissioners said they want any meeting to reflect views both for and against the proposal. But Eagle County Manager Kieth Montag said the people proposing the new wilderness should have a better-defined idea before they bring it to a public meeting.

“And I’m not ready to write a blanket letter of support for this right now,” he said.

What’s next? Hidden Gems backers have asked for a meeting in October. That might not happen.

Who they talked to: Land trust director Kara Heide.

What they talked about: Heide is fairly new to the job at the land trust, but she updated the commissioners about a report the group did about open space priorities. After explaining the report, Heide was asked what she’d like to see happen next.

“I think we should get aligned with the county’s priorities,” Heide said. “The land trust should be part of a bigger program. We can provide options for people, but we’re not the only option.”

Jon Stavney, Sara Fisher, Peter Runyon.

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