Connie Remscheid of Scotia has two connections to the former Horstman Farm, now becoming a residence facility.
Sixty-six years ago, she picked strawberries there for 2 cents a quart. Next year, she plans to continue her nearly decade-long volunteer work with Baptist Health System, which is building a 72-bed assisted living facility on a portion of the former farm site on Swaggertown Road.
Remscheid, now 81, puts in 180 hours a year talking to and helping residents. She said it will be a wonderful redevelopment of the property.
“There’s so many of us that want to be productive. This way they can be productive and just need a little assistance,” she said following Friday’s ceremonial ground-breaking on the $14 million facility.
A steady downpour didn’t dampen officials’ enthusiasm for the project.
“Because of the vision of everyone at Baptist, this facility will provide life-enhancing care to seniors in our communities,” said Baptist President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Bartos.
He said the original plan was for Baptist to renovate its facility on North Ballston Avenue, but they were fortunate to acquire this land. The building will occupy about nine acres of the roughly 48-acre site.
Construction started about six weeks ago. The shell of the first floor is already up, according to Ruth Tietz, director of marketing/development. “We’ll have this all enclosed by November,” she said.
Officials expect to finish construction next summer. A total of 40 permanent jobs will be created.
Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, said his 97-year-old mother is still fortunate to live in her own home, but one day she may need a facility such as Baptist and the caring people who work there.
County Legislator Jim Buhrmaster agreed, noting that his own mother is 96.
“We’re able to keep her in her house but so many can’t,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier to see this facility take place.”
The name Judson Meadows was chosen after a Baptist missionary to reflect the Baptist heritage, according to Associate Administrator Tony Alotta.
In a nod to the property’s former use, there will be a community garden on the property. Alotta said they haven’t determined the site yet but hope to have resident input. “A lot of residents enjoy planting flowers, tomatoes and herbs,” he said.
Ten of the residents who live in the housing will be reimbursed under the Medicaid-funded state Assisted Living Plan. The rest will be under private coverage that starts at $3,545 a month.
The project had been delayed. Baptist received town approval for their new facility in September 2010, but also needed to be reviewed by the state Department of Health. Also, Baptist had to obtain other financing in addition to its $3.47 million Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law grant from the state.
Phase two of the project is planned to involve building cottage-style nursing home units containing roughly 228 beds. Completion of this phase would allow Baptist to move the rest of its operations out of the current 262-bed facility in Scotia, which was built in 1977 and is outdated.
This could begin within the next two years. Baptist Health System just received another HEAL grant for $9 million, according to Tietz.
Future phases of the project could include independent living apartments, cottages and retail space such as a bank, cafe, barber, beauty salon and medical offices.