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Dunedin supports plans for living facility
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Drawing courtesy of MEASE MANOR
Mease Manor Inc. plans to build a 32-suite congregate living facility on Virginia Street in Dunedin.
DUNEDIN – Based on previous discussions, Dunedin Commissioners are likely to give final design approval Thursday, June 5, to plans for a 32-suite congregate living facility proposed by Mease Manor Inc. on Virginia Street.

City commissioners, city officials and residents expressed strong support for the Mease Manor Memory Care project May 1, saying there is a strong need for it to prevent families from having to move their loved ones with memory issues away from the community.

City officials believe that in their new comprehensive plan due to the state in December 2015 it’s important they show a housing continuum of care that’s going to take people through all aspects of their life, including senior living, congregate care and memory care, Dunedin Planning Director Greg Rice said at the City Commission meeting May 1.

Commissioners gave preliminary approval of the project at the meeting.

“As the Committee on the Aging has taught our staff … there is a silver tsunami on the way, and they really got us thinking about the number of people that will be retiring over the next 20 years,” Rice said. “It’s something that we want to support. We want our city to work for everybody of all ages – young families, middle age, empty nesters, senior housing – this continuum as well so the people who live in Mease Manor don’t have to go to find another place when this type of memory is needed.”

Jack Norton, chief executive officer of Mease Manor Retirement Community, said Mease Manor has been working on the project for about a year.

“We think it’s a project that will benefit certainly not just Mease Manor residents, but residents of the community at large,” he said.

The one-story project, which would be built on 1.76 acres, was also praised for its architecture and its compatibility to the surrounding area. It would be located between Orange Avenue and Milwaukee Street.

Mease Manor, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, said in a letter to city officials that it decided to add memory care on its local campus when the number of current residents leaving to obtain that service in other communities began to increase.

The project has been designed with the consulting service of Lorraine Hiatt, who is nationally recognized for her dedication to keeping projects compatible with the surrounding environment while making the community safe and secure for those with memory impairment, the letter said.

Dunedin resident Deborah Kines said the city needs the continuum of care expected from the project.

“It’s very true we are going to deal with the silver tsunami. The best way we can do it is try to move from one place to another, keeping those roots where they have been for many years,” she said.
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