2 want to build nursing homes in Taneytown

April 13, 1995|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

Two nursing home operators are vying for state approval to build new facilities in Taneytown across the street from each other, city officials have learned.

Robert Killett, owner and operator of Sykesville Eldercare Center, and CareNet Health Systems and Services of Ellicott City, both told the Taneytown Planning Commission they intend to build 128-bed nursing centers on opposite sides of Antrim Boulevard at Trevanion Road.

While both companies are willing to build -- and the city is eager to have them build -- only one will get the nod from the state.

"All comprehensive care facilities are reviewed to prevent unnecessary duplication and, therefore, unnecessary cost," said Barbara Johnson, acting director of the resources development program of the Health Resources Planning Commission.

"We want to have enough, but not too many," she said.

The commission periodically reviews projected needs for nursing home beds, Ms. Johnson said.

Recently, the commission determined that Carroll County -- which already has 802 nursing home beds -- will need another 128 by the year 2000.

It is unusual that two of the three groups competing for the right to build those beds have chosen Taneytown.

The third competitor -- Carroll County General Hospital -- is seeking permission to build a 15-bed nursing home facility in Westminster.

Carroll has eight nursing homes.

"I decided Taneytown was good in 1991, and it is good now," said Mr. Killett, who has been in the nursing home business for 40 years. "There are no other nursing homes there, the utilities are good and it's in Carroll County. Taneytown became my best choice, but, sadly, it did for my competitor as well."

"I don't want to sound too partisan, but I think our proposal is a comprehensive one that addresses the needs to be part of the Taneytown community," said James A. Forsyth, a lawyer for CareNet's corporate parent, Maryland Health Enterprises of Towson.

Mr. Forsyth said CareNet chose to pursue a nursing home in Taneytown because of the area's aging and growing population, good infrastructure and the lack of similar facilities nearby.

The two Taneytown proposals are similar.

CareNet is proposing a senior health-care campus, including an outpatient medical clinic, assisted-living retirement units, an Alzheimer's wing and other programs.

Mr. Killett said he also would have a comprehensive facility, with 52 assisted-living units and on-site medical services.

CareNet estimates that its 10-acre project would cost more than $14 million to build and develop. Mr. Killett said the nursing home portion alone of his 11-acre campus would cost nearly $6.5 million.

Mayor Henry I. Reindollar said either project would be "quite an asset" to the city and would represent the largest economic development boon Taneytown has seen in years.

"Let's hope one of them gets built," the mayor said.

Before one is built, the Health Resources Planning Commission has to award a bid. Ground probably wouldn't be broken for more than a year.

Ms. Johnson said any addition to the state's roster of 320 nursing homes must be reviewed for need before it can be built.

All three Carroll project proposals will be reviewed.

The commission staff will pick one -- or possibly both the hospital and one of the other two bidders -- to recommend for approval.

Ms. Johnson declined to put a time frame on the approval process.

However, Mr. Forsyth of CareNet said he hopes to have his project ready for occupancy in two or three years.

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