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County commissioners want delegates to reverse nursing home demo vote

September 29, 2011
OSSIPEE— The last word from the county's delegation regarding use of the old nursing home was spend up to $500,000 on planning, design and renovation of the building's core and tear down the wings. Their decision was apparently largely based on there being no commitments for rental of any part or all of the wings from any agency or business. Most of the delegates were opposed to just mothballing two or four of the wings.

Now, County Commissioner David Sorensen reports the Department of Health and Human Services might be interested in leasing 10,000 square feet in the old nursing home. In a move to consolidate their services and decrease the number of regional offices, Sorensen said he learned at a recent DHHS meeting that department is looking for rental space to accommodate 45 employees in Tamworth or in Ossipee. At that point Sorensen mentioned the possibility of the nursing home space.

DHHS, said Sorensen, has changed their district service area from just Carroll County to now include the county plus Rochester, Alton, Milton, over to include part of Laconia.

"It would be ideal for both the state and the county to have Health and Human Services on this complex," said Sorensen at the commissioner's meeting Sept. 21. The move is not expected to happen until spring. Sorensen said he has spoken to a few delegates who have indicated if Sorensen can get a commitment out of DHHS, they will reconsider the vote to tear down all four wings.

NH Representative and County Delegate David Babson attended the DHHS meeting and also the Sept. 21 commissioner's meeting. "This looks to me like another situation of chasing your tail. If we haven't learned from the Cooperative Extension coming here, we haven't learned anything. Have you gotten a hold of anyone at DHHS to get the ball rolling? They are going to come back and say they aren't going to give a commitment until they know how much it's going to cost. Then you're going to go back to the delegation and say they've got to rescind their vote to take the wings down. This will go round in a circle and five years from now someone will make a decision that it would have been nice if they were here," said Babson.

Commissioner Dorothy Solomon said she has been in contact with a DHHS representative and has requested the request for proposal as soon as DHHS puts it out.

Work is still underway to come up with a plan for renovation to make the existing building workable for UNH Cooperative Extension. According to Sorensen, the Extension staff has agreed to use much of the space in the old nursing home as is without renovation, thus cutting the cost of renovation significantly.

The county delegation will meet next at the county administration in Ossipee Oct. 3 at 9 a.m.

Varney Smith
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