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Construction Begins on Forrest City assisted living center

Dated: January 07, 2011

Construction to start on $6.5 million facility



Kendall Owens ---  Forrest City Times-Herald

After more than five years of work, ground could be broken this spring on the St. Francis County Community Development Corporation’s assisted living facility.

According to André Stephens, executive director of the SFCCDC, construction on the 30,000-square-foot facility will begin in March, with a projected completion date in 2012. 

“We’re hoping we’ll have everything ready to start on March 1. That is our projected start date, and it should take about 18 months to finish, which should have us opening our doors by September of 2012. This is going to be a 30,000-square-foot building that will house 40 units of assisted living. Once it is finished we will have provide 16 full-time jobs. During construction, we’ll provide 160 construction jobs,” said Stephens. 

Stephens said the total project cost is $6.5 million and the facility is being funded by several different sources. He said that holding the project together through a recession has been the primary reason for delays.

“We started on this in 2005 and received our initial funding from part of the Communities of Opportunity initiative and the Walton Foundation. This has really been a community-wide effort from the very beginning, and all segments of this community helped us get to this point from the city and the county to the federal government. The biggest challenge that we faced was with the recession. It really affected our ability to get funding for the project from the different funding sources for quite some time, but the community stayed together and continued to work on this, and now we’re ready to break ground,” said Stevens.

County Judge Gary Hughes praised the effort saying he is looking forward to the day the facility opens.

“We’ve worked with the Community Development Corporation on this project since day one, and we definitely will continue to work closely with them as this process unfolds. Several of the grants they have received have been funneled through the county, and we’re really glad to see this is moving forward. I’m glad to see that we’re going to have some additional quality housing for our aging residents, and I look forward to seeing the day that we open the doors,” said Hughes.

The facility will be located on Holiday Drive in an area between the new Social Security Office and Chapel Ridge apartment complex. Early press releases on the facility show it would include a large lobby/living area along with a library and computer center, activity room, private dining room and covered porches. The facility will also have roll-in shower units and a large dining room serving three meals daily, bistro coffee bar, game room, entertainment center, laundry service, hair salon and a gazebo. All apartments will feature a kitchenette with refrigerator/freezer, microwave and cook top, separate living and sleeping areas with windows and large closets.

Stephens said possibly the most attractive facet of the project will be the ability to provide quality services for low cost. 

“Our lowest priced units will cost our residents around $367 per month for services that would generally cost a person around $4,000 per month at an assisted living facility. We’re able to keep our prices down to serve the low income residents of this area because of the various funding sources that have assisted us. We will be able to provide the same level of services and care that someone would receive at other facilities, but at a greatly reduced price,” said Stephens.

Stephens also said there will be room for future expansion at the facility as well. 


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