Sparta woman circulating nursing home petition asking for due diligence
More pushback against moving the site of a new county nursing home to Tomah came last week in the form of a petition.
Pat Wall of Sparta, a retired nurse who worked at the VA in Tomah, said she began circulating the petition in an effort to advocate for the residents of the Rolling Hills Nursing Home and the citizens of Sparta.
The petition, which is being passed around on Facebook as well as being circulated by hand, requests that the county board practice due diligence before deciding where the facility should be located.
In particular, the petition ask for a market feasibility study for the Tomah area along with accurate construction and operational costs associated with the proposed facility.
The petition is the latest in a dustup from the January county board meeting where 10 supervisors voted to move the nursing home site to Tomah's south side without a cost analysis of building on the property. The site is on land owned by the Tomah hospital where it is building a new health center.
While that property seems to be plagued by obstacles, including a 60-foot knoll, which takes up a good portion of the site, and a utility easement that runs down the center of it, Community Living Solutions (CLS), the architectural firm hired to design the facility, is currently working on facility designs to overcome those problems.
CLS is expected to have site preparation and construction cost estimates by mid-March.
The originally-approved site was on 10 acres of county-owned land on the northeast corner of Cty. Hwy. B and General Avenue across from Rolling Hills north of Sparta. The county board has already approved bonding $16 million for the project, which originally was for a 50-bed nursing home, a 24-bed wing for fragile elderly, including independent living quarters, and a 24-bed memory care unit.
That configuration was recommended by the CPA consulting firm Wipfli of Eau Claire, which performed a $24,000 market and feasibility study for the Sparta location, the same study critics say needs to done for the Tomah site.
The county board postponed the sale of the bonds after the vote to move the site to Tomah.
Wall said she would like to see the facility remain near Sparta because of the disruption moving to Tomah would have on nursing home residents and their families. But she also thinks Sparta benefits from having two nursing homes because of the competition it creates.
"Having worked in the health field all of my career, I see the need for this nursing home, county owned and operated, as well as more CBRF and RCAC beds going forward, both personally and professionally, serving our community in the generations to come," she said.
Wall plans to deliver the petition to the county clerk's office once she has gathered enough signatures.