(MENA) The first hurdle in the process of bringing a $14 million nursing and rehabilitation facility to Mena has crossed its first hurdle, in gaining the approval of the Mena Planning Commission.
Members heard an informal presentation by one of the partners in the project, Ross Ponthie of Alexandria, Louisiana on the concept that was initially developed by Robert Jones.
The project according to Ponthie, is the most expensive concept in the marketplace; but, it provides specialized care and will segregate residents into areas in which it will place similar minded individuals with one another.
There are currently four other similar style facilities in the state, with the nearest being in Little Rock. Other campuses include Magnolia, Harrison and Paragould. The group also operates another twenty-five more facilities and has been a nursing home and rehabilitation provider for approximately fifteen years.
Ponthie stated that the need to close a portion of Eagle Gap Road, is to ensure that the therapeutic needs of the residents have a safe area, that will also be confined as well. The campus will have two inlets and two outlets for vehicular traffic.
Ponthie also mentioned that there could be possible future development nearby.
The commission approved the measure of the partial road closure and will now allow the process to proceed to a vote by Mena City Council. However, a public hearing will be scheduled in two weeks, to ensure that the public has an opportunity to voice any concerns.
If the proposal garners approval by council, construction could start within six weeks and be totally completed by October 2020. Ponthie stated after the hearing that the existing residents at Rich Mountain Nursing Home will be transferred to the new facility and that the existing facility would be closed and divested to a community group.