A determined group of private investors and concerned residents is attempting to buy the Valley View Manor building from its former management company in hopes of reopening a long-term care facility in Craig, a spokesperson for the group told the Craig Daily Press Tuesday.
Tracey Behrman, who worked for the nursing home as the recreation director, said the private group has given Mariner Health Care two proposals for the purchase of the building.
"We are actively right now in the (process) of buying the building," Behrman said. But for the moment, she doesn't know where Mariner stands, as the group has been forced to "hurry up and wait for Mariner's decision."
Behrman did not discuss the amount of money the group offered for the building, but she suggested it was less than the $600,000 Mariner is asking.
If Mariner sticks to its asking price, Behrman said the group will consider building a new facility. Since the nursing home was closed, and no continuity will exist between its previous owner and its future owner, prospective buyers face costly remodeling to bring the building in line with current safety codes. If Mariner won't budge from the $600,000 figure, it would likely make more sense to build a new facility, Behrman said.
Behrman will be involved in the management of the new nursing home, if the plans come to fruition. She said she's been working toward a solution since before the nursing home closed, when she had a "gut feeling" the closure was imminent.
"I actually started organizing the day the closure was announced," Behrman said.
The biggest challenge in previous months has been establishing meaningful dialog with Mariner, Behrman said. The group has worked with three different contacts from the healthcare corporation, and currently is dealing with one of Mariner's real estate attorneys.
"We got the financing fairly quickly, but the litigation part of purchasing the building has been a chore," Behrman said.
If the attempt to buy the building proves successful, the group anticipates rapidly proceeding to open the facility.
But the time-frame largely depends on Mariner.
"Once they give us an answer, it will take at least 60 to 90 days to get up and running," Behrman said.
One major hurdle will be to secure a Medicare/Medicaid license. According to Behrman, the group then will work to hire management staff, equipment and employees. The new management will send letters to the families of the former residents inviting them to return.
Behrman is confident that the smaller local management will be more successful than the former corporate leaders. For instance, the profits from the nursing home would benefit the Craig facility, and not "go into a huge corporate pot."
As a former employee, Behrman said it often seemed Valley View Manor largely was ignored until it had problems.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org