228-bed nursing home is OK'd for Mount Airy senior village But facility will start with about 60 beds

November 22, 1996|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Mount Airy's senior citizen village has town government approval for a 228-bed nursing home, but the project's developer says he plans only about a fourth that number -- at least to start.

Michael Berman, developer of Wildwood Park senior village on Park Avenue, said the nursing care center probably will begin with no more than 60 beds. The 228-bed authorization from the town Board of Zoning Appeals "represents a vision of what the total build-out could be," he said.

A nursing home, assisted-living apartments and single-family houses form the village plan outlined by a senior housing committee that began meeting four years ago to draw up a proposal. The committee chose Berman to develop the project.

"We wanted to be able to have it take care of the elderly, from the able to the disabled," said C. Oscar Baker, chairman of the committee, who lives in a Wildwood Park house.

A nursing home with fewer than 228 beds will be good news to Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company, which answers about 1,000 ambulance calls a year. Fire company officials, who have worked out an "emergency calls only" agreement with Pleasant View Nursing Home at 4101 Baltimore National Pike, are worried that a large new nursing home would strain resources.

"It would max us," said Fire Chief Dale Lowman. "With the continual building as it is, it's maxing us out anyway."

He said the fire company has begun work on a five-year plan to assess equipment and personnel needed to cover emergency services for the growing community.

Berman said he is negotiating with three prospective nursing home operators. The final plan for the nursing care center and the number of beds will depend on which of the three is selected, he said.

He said an application for a certificate of need for the nursing home has not been filed with the Maryland Health Resources Planning Commission.

Berman said he hopes to submit a plan for 72 assisted-living apartments in the spring of 1997. The apartments, on six acres of the 17.25-acre site, will have a central dining room, transportation for residents and possibly housekeeping service.

Twenty-seven houses and duplexes are finished or under construction.

Pub Date: 11/22/96

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