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Public invited to new nursing home ribbon cutting ceremony

September 08, 2011
OSSIPEE— Nearly two years ago, the 14-member Carroll County Delegation gathered for a bond hearing and voted 11-3 in favor of constructing the county's new nursing home and issueing into a bond not to exceed $23.5 million.

Saturday, Sept. 10, the public is invited to see the newly -ompleted Mountain View Community on County Farm Road in Ossipee.

The official ground breaking ceremony was held April 19, 2010 and work has continued non-stop. The nursing home residents are scheduled to move from the current nursing home to the new next week. Throughout the construction process, the commissioners have maintained that the project is likely to come in under budget by about $2 million, with final construction costs not yet tallied and released.

The Sept. 10 ceremony will start at 10 a.m. with speeches by a number of county officials and an official ribbon cutting. This will be followed by an open house where guided tours last until 4 p.m. For anyone unable to attend on Saturday, there will be a chance to take a guided tour on Sunday, Sept. 11 as well from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Back on Nov. 30, 2009, in what was considered a historic vote for the future care of the county's elderly, several members of the public spoke in favor of the new home as found in meeting minutes from that time.

Robert Kilkelly of Albany said, "(I) have been following the nursing home in newspapers. The present system we have is a disservice to the people who are here. We have an obligation to society to take care of them, not warehouse them. Need to respect them for the contribution they have made. We have to move on to a new system which is the new nursing home."

Bill Lyon of Tuftonboro said, "Build the home. I am a Hospice volunteer and the residents here deserve it. We are their legacy. This is a fantastic staff that needs a good place and it has been a pleasure to serve. The residents deserve better, spend the $23.5 million."

Jon Hebert of Bartlett said, "This process is more open than any other in county since day one. It has been posted, been in the newspaper for everyone to see. Commissioners have worked together to bring this to the delegation. If we sideline the project now due to some political 11th hour play and go down another road, it is going to be harmful to the process. Need to keep tax bill in perspective; the County part is reasonable for what you get for that money. They should build the best home that they can."

Cindy White of Conway said, "I am a taxpayer. It is hard paying taxes; I have to scrape them up each year. The delegation is obligated to protect the taxpayer. I support this home; I am willing to pay because this building promises dignity, privacy. I will dig down and pay my taxes for this building."

The question at the meeting was not whether or not to build the nursing home but whether or not to build it for the $23.5 million price tag.

There were several who opposed the figure, arguing the plan was too extravagant and the project could be done for less.

Those opposed included Geary Ciccarone of Brookfield, a builder with a degree in engineering, who said the cost is "exorbitant," the architecture accoutrements are too unique and fancy" and there was "fraud and waste" in the design that is not cost-effective. And Ray Shakir of Conway weighed in saying there was incompetence in the procedure as well as "fraud, indifference, and abuse going on" and that the plan is inefficient.

After the public was given the chance to air their comments, the delegates let the public know where they stood on passing the bond. Delegates John Roberts and Stanley Stevens who sat on the board at the time but are no longer on the board both said they had received threats from constituents that they would not be re-elected if they voted to build the new nursing home.

When the first plans were drawn up, the total project cost was estimated at $28 million. After public hearings held throughout the county, the plans were modified, bringing that number down to $23,234,466.

At the Nov. 30, 2009 hearing some said that number could be whittled down even more by having some shared rooms and shared bathrooms instead of all private rooms with private bathrooms.

In the end, the bond passed at 11-3 with Chris Ahlgren, Gene Chandler, and Karen Umberger voting against it while Robert Bridgham, Tom Buco, Ed Butler, Joseph Fleck, David Knox, John Roberts, Dino Scala, Stanley Stevens, Susan Wiley and Betsey Patten all voted in favor.

Since the April 19, 2010 groundbreaking, commissioners have been attending regular building committee meetings and hearing proposals and making decisions every step of the way. Much of their weekly commission meetings have involved discussions about the new nursing home for everything from the pellet boiler to carpeting, artwork, landscaping, cable and phone line installation, dumpsters, lamps, and more.

This weekend, they will unveil to the public years of hard work and are hoping many will show up to tour the facility to see how their tax dollars have been spent for the present and future residents of Mountain View Community. For more information about the open house, contact the nursing home at 539-7511. The home also has a Facebook page where the project's progress has been chronicled through construction notes and photographs throughout the entire construction project. That site can be found by searching for "Mountain View Nursing Home" at www.facebook.com.

Varney Smith
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