Bobbie Bohlen, former director of the Grant County Development Corporation (GCDC) and current director of development  for HME Management in Brookings, presented a proposal... Senior Living Facility Proposed on Former Koch School Property

Bobbie Bohlen, former director of the Grant County Development Corporation (GCDC) and current director of development  for HME Management in Brookings, presented a proposal to members of the Milbank City Council on Monday, April 19. 

The proposal outlined demolishing the former Koch Elementary School in Milbank and erecting a senior living facility. According to Bohlen, the $11 million project would include independent senior living, assisted senior living, and memory care for up to 87 residents. 

The assisted living and memory care unit encompasses approximately 37,000 square feet and is connected to a single- story independent living area. The independent living area is approximately 20,000 square feet. The assisted living and memory care would offer approximately 38 units.

Ammenities are expected to include a dining room, lounge, multi-purpose room, exercise room, and resident laundry rooms. The independent living area would offer approximately 15 one-bedroom living units and five two-bedroom units. Ammenities are expected to include a lobby, resident laundry rooms, and an outdoor courtyard. Based on city parking requirements, 55 parking spots would be required. HME proposed 47 on-site above ground parking spaces for the assisted living with memory care area and 10 on-site exterior garage spaces for the independent living residents. 

Construction materials were listed as concrete slab-on grade, wood-framed walls and roof with composite exterior siding, manufactured stone accents, and asphalt shingles. A 10-foot monument sign would be placed at the entrance on East 10th Avenue. Parking for visitors would also be available near the entrance.

To go forward, the project will first need to obtain a conditional use permit from the city. In March, the GCDC published a Request for Qualified Developers (RFQD). The RFQD included the requirement for the proposed project to fit into the R-1 residential zoning of the neighborhood. The R-1 zone is intended for low-density residential dwellings. Permitted uses within the zone are single-family dwellings, modular homes, public park and recreation areas, public utilities and services required by the resident population, and permitted special uses or temporary special events. 

The hearing for the conditional use permit will be conducted by the city’s planning and zoning board on Monday, May 3, at 6 p.m. HME is also expected to seek approval from the Milbank City Council and its planning and zoning board to approve the creation of  a tax increment financing (TIF) district. 

In general, a TIF is a way to finance infrastructure improvements in a defined geographic area usually considered to be blighted or disinvested. Under a TIF agreement, the local government incentivizes a developer by paying a portion of the development costs. Often, the city raises the money by selling bonds to investors.
If an agreement is reached, construction is expected to begin in September with possible completion by November 2022.


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