Officials concerned about rest home closure

Yesterday's announcement that Valley View Manor in Craig would be closing its doors in 60 days has the attention of local officials.

"I believe we need something here," Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said. "Not having anything is not an option."

It's a key component to the community, she said.

"How you take care of your elderly and senior citizens tells you a lot about a community," she said. "I think it's really imperative that we have a home here."

Raftopoulos said Valley View Manor was important to the community on two levels.

One is the fact that it's a place where elderly people in the community receive care, and the other is that it employs more than 50 local residents.

Raftopoulos said the commissioners would probably schedule a meeting with The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees to discuss what actions might have to be taken to keep a home in Craig.

She said she was leery of the county getting into the nursing home business.

"I would like to see a private entity come in and buy it," she said.

Craig Mayor Dave DeRose had already met Tuesday with representatives from Mariner Health Care, the company that owns Valley View Manor. When the announcement was made yesterday that they were going to close Valley View Manor, officials from the company said they would entertain any offers made by local private or public entities to buy the home.

But DeRose too was leery about the city taking over the operation, saying he rarely sees where a public entity can run a business as well as a private entity.

"I don't know what the answer is," he said. "We need a place for these people to live."

Local officials, the community and employees at Valley View Manor in Craig were hit with the news Tuesday that the manor would be closing its doors.

Dale Zaletel, president of the Rocky Mountain Region of Mariner Health Care, told employees of the home in a meeting yesterday that because of budget shortfalls, the home could no longer continue business in Craig.

Should no one volunteer to take over or purchase the home within the next 60 days, all 39 residents will be transferred to homes in surrounding communities.

And the more than 50 employees at Valley View Manor will be forced to seek work elsewhere.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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