FARMINGTON — Plans for the potential construction of a $4 million Memory Care Center were presented to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday.

The board is considering a tax increment financing agreement for the project.

Lon Walters and his son, Matthew Walters of Woodlands Senior Living, described plans for a 36-bed facility. Plans are similar but smaller than the Woodlands Memory Care that opened at the Fairgrounds Business Park in Lewiston in October.

The board was receptive to offering a TIF agreement and asked Walters to come back with a proposal for them to consider. 

When money is put into a property within a TIF district and raises the property’s value, the new tax revenues are kept in the TIF program. The town can negotiate agreements that rebate some of the new taxes to the owner who made the improvements.

The project was presented to selectmen first so “we would know where to go if you said no,” Matthew Walters said of plans to construct in Farmington or elsewhere in the area.

The high costs of acquiring property is one reason for requesting the TIF agreement, Matthews said. He suggested a shorter-term agreement, maybe 10 years, to help the company as the facility is built and begins operation.  

Deferring some costs through TIF programs has allowed the company to grow, he said, explaining how some centers were added to assisted-living units.

Woodlands Senior Living, headquartered in Waterville, has constructed 12 facilities around the state since Lon Walters started the company in 1980. Six of those specialize in memory care, providing housing and care to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

The proposed 20,000-square-foot facility in Farmington would become the company’s seventh specialized memory care center. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 29,000 people in Maine live with dementia. Of those, 1,000 people are estimated to live in Franklin County, Matthews said.

There is a need, and a center in Farmington could draw from the surrounding area, he said.

The Matthews are looking at about 10 acres of property off Routes 2 and 4 behind Healthquest Chiropractic. The properties are owned by Coastal Enterprises Inc. and the Robert McCleery family.  

If licensing and the TIF agreement can be secured this winter, construction could begin as early as April, and the facility could open in April 2017.

The center would provide services for MaineCare and privately insured residents. It is not backed by federal funds, he said. 

The center would also provide an estimated 30 full-time jobs with trained personnel to care for residents, he said.

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