GOSHEN — Plans for the development of a new 120-unit affordable assisted living facility on the city’s north side took a tentative step forward Tuesday during a meeting of the Goshen City Council.
At the meeting, council members voted unanimously on first reading to approve an ordinance authorizing the issuance of up to $22 million in tax-exempt bonds connected to the construction of the facility to be known as Green Oaks of Goshen.
Tuesday was the second time the proposed development has come before the council for consideration. Council members back in December of 2019 voted to approve a petition by the facility’s developers, Evergreen Real Estate Group and Carl & Rae LLC, for a planned unit development major change and PUD preliminary site plan needed in order to address density, on-site parking, loading, building height and length, and distance from adjacent child care center/group care home uses.
While voting unanimously to approve the ordinance on first reading Tuesday, council members agreed to hold off on a second, final reading of the ordinance until their upcoming Feb. 2 meeting in order to allow more time for consideration of the proposal.
Should the council ultimately approve the issuance of tax-exempt bonds on behalf of the developers, it was noted that the city will have no liability for the payment on the bonds, which instead will fall on the developers.
The property in question is a 3.08-acre vacant lot at 282 Johnston St., Lot G, just northwest of the rear of the Salvation Army property on the city’s north side.
According to the proposal, the new four-story, 120-unit facility will provide assisted living, along with personal care and supportive services, to seniors age 62 and older with the goal of allowing them to age in a pleasant, safe environment.
As planned, the facility will include 49 studio assisted living units and 71 one-bedroom assisting living units. All of the units will contain a kitchenette with a sink, refrigerator, and a microwave, and the kitchenette will be adaptable to a full kitchen as needed.
The proposal notes the units will also include a private bathroom with grab bars and a shower, either a sitting/sleeping area or a bedroom and sitting area, individual heating and air conditioning, and an emergency alert system.
The facility will also feature a dining room and commercial kitchen that serves three meals a day and snacks, and the facility will contain a fitness room, beauty salon, game room, activity rooms, library and lounges. Certified staff will be on duty 24 hours a day, and the facility will provide transportation for the residents.
Total cost of the development has been estimated at approximately $28 million, with approximately $22 million of that cost coming from the tax-exempt bonds currently being considered for authorization by the council.
Actual construction cost of the new facility has been estimated at about $16.5 million.
According the Scott Krapf, an attorney representing the petitioners, Green Oaks of Goshen will be licensed by the state, and all of the assisted living units will be affordable and eligible to accept the Medicaid waiver.
Addressing the need for the project, Krapf explained that data shows approximately 70% of seniors cannot afford market rate assisted living, with about 60% of seniors aged 75 or older having an income of less than $35,000 a year.
To make matters worse, Krapf noted that Indiana ranked 51st — out of the U.S. and the District of Columbia — in a 2017 state scorecard of options for long-term care services from the AARP Foundation, SCAN Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund.
Krapf noted a recent market study indicated there is currently a high demand for affordable assisting living units in the city.