FARMINGTON — A groundbreaking ceremony for the $4 million Woodlands Memory Care building was held Friday at 175 Knowlton Corner Road.

Mounds of dirt and equipment cover the site where, by the fall of 2017, Woodlands Senior Living of Waterville will open its seventh specialized center for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related memory impairments, said Matthew Walters, chief operating officer of the company. 

The first of its kind in Farmington, the center will serve greater Franklin County and beyond. The 20,000-square-foot facility will house 36 residents and employ about 30 full-time employees.

Woodlands Senior Living operates 11 assisted-living and memory care communities in Maine since starting in 1980. Farmington’s center will be No. 12.

“We have been welcomed with open arms in Farmington,” Walters said.

A reported 25,000 people in Maine have Alzheimer’s disease or related memory impairments. In Franklin County, that number is 700 and expected to grow to over 1,000 in the next 15 years, he said.

“I passed Farmington’s Business-Friendly sign and I can attest to that,” owner Lon Walters said. He thanked the Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, town manager and staff for being professional and helpful.

Woodlands Memory Care of Farmington received final approval from the Planning Board on Aug. 8 and closed on the property Aug. 19. 

“The site is very calming,” David Walters, Lon Walter’s brother, said of the rural pasture that looks onto Routes 2 and 4.

David Walters, owner of Senior Spec Construction of Hallowell, will build the center.

“We are pleased you have chosen our community,” Town Manager Richard Davis said. 

Voters approved a tax-increment financing agreement with Woodlands Senior Living in July. The TIF defers 100 percent of property taxes for 10 years, or fewer if the organization is ready to start on phase two of the project.

Once the TIF ends, the town will benefit from the $12 million valuation of the center, according to Davis.

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