Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Questions raised about Bellevue senior facility

    After reading the comments in the April 10 Mountain Express article titled “Public lobbies for Blaine Manor levy,” I felt the need to share some of my own and my neighbors in northeast Bellevue. If you feel “railroaded,” we feel ran over by the neighbors we trusted and elected to represent us.
    On your next trip south, please look to your left as you approach Bellevue. Up on the hillside by the old ranch and barn, the new senior facility is going in. Please take the time to drive down Spruce Street and check out the nice “Coming Soon” sign and the picture of this building. Now visualize the St. Luke’s Hailey medical clinic, where it is located at 30,000 square feet, and the new 85-bed senior center at 48,000 square feet, in this residential neighborhood.
    After I saw this sign go up I started to do some web research and found a Mountain Express piece from July 25: “Bellevue P&Z approves senior care annexation” by Tony Evans. As I read the article, I noticed that the new facility will have a 10-bed secured dementia unit. I started talking to my neighbors and going over this article with them. Concern was voiced about how this being a private, for-profit facility would people other than elderly people be in the dementia unit?
    How secure is this unit, because the Bellevue Elementary School is three blocks away. Did the mayor and City Council share this with the principal and staff of the school? Was any research done as to any problems this company has had in the past? How much traffic will be on Spruce and Ash streets? What if someone needs emergency care? Does the ambulance come from Hailey to Bellevue then to Ketchum? Will local contractors get some of the work? Will the jobs that are created be enough to support a local family or will the staff have to drive up from down south? Will the seniors and their families be able to afford a private corporation’s one-size-fits-all, no-other-competition center? With all the insurance changes from Obamacare, if the corporation fails are Bellevue and Blaine County taxpayers expected to bail it out? Is this facility the final size and is this the answer to this issue?
    No one I talked to including myself is opposed to the senior center. We know the need for this kind of care, but we are disappointed that a greater effort was not made to inform us about this project.
    Last March, when the field north of Spruce Street flooded, Bellevue showed up to build a sand-bag berm, neighbor helping neighbor. Maybe in a small town where we all know each other we hoped the people we elected would do the same for us.
Roger Buckle

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