Legacy of Brownsdale to open late August

Published 2:01 pm Saturday, May 26, 2018

BROWNSDALE — Many hearts were broken after the Brownsdale Elementary School closed its doors permanently in June 2016. Now, by summer’s end, the building will reopen as the town’s new assisted living center.

Diedra Burke, owner and property manager of Legacy of Brownsdale, shared that the construction has been meeting expected timeframes—despite freezing weather conditions—and crews are expected to complete the renovations by the end of July.

Then, the Legacy of Brownsdale anticipates opening by mid or late August, according to Burke.

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“It’s super exciting,” she said over the phone on Friday morning. “The building looks beautiful with a new roof and new windows. It really lends to a tremendous appearance for the area.”

The estimated 45,000 square-foot facility features 33 assisted living units, some with the capacity to house two people with most units that accommodate single-residency (limited to husbands and wives, and possible friends).

Once the building comes to capacity, between 30 to 45 total staff members are expected to be employed in both full-time and part-time positions, according to Burke.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Mower County Board approved the property tax abatement contract with Legacy of Brownsdale. County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said the abatement was for 15 years, but was subjected to conditions such as having proper permits and licenses, employment and having the facilities ready by July 14, 2019.

The minimum employment numbers are tied to occupancy rates for the residents at Legacy of Brownsdale, according to Oscarson.

“If they fail in that capacity the tax abatement maybe limited or rejected,” Oscaron said in an email. “If they have some construction delays, etc. The board can always grant an extension.”

The way a tax abatement works is that an entity or individual must pay their full taxes each year, and at the end of each tax year, the county would need to verify that they met the terms and conditions of contract for the tax abatement.

“If so, we will issue them their tax abatement refund,” Oscarson said. “If they fail to meet the condition, then they forfeit the abatement for that particular tax year.”

With a heightened buzz surrounding a new asset to Brownsdale, Burke shared that she was already contacted by “two dozen” people who were potentially looking to move in, along with several contacts made about employment opportunities.

“We aren’t taking applications until we complete our licensing process,” she added, which should be processed by the end of July, “and it’s the same for residents since we still need to assess them for their needs.”

Burke proudly shared that the facilities still retained original features from the elementary school for the main portion of the building. In a way, the old school building is alive and well.

“The entire former structure remains intact,” she said. “We did change the roof (went from a flat roof to a pitch roof) since there were previous roofing issues. However, the integrity of the existing structure remains as is. ….we maintained that integrity and that pleases me.”