DALLAS TWP. —Ecumenical Enterprises Inc. wants to break ground to construct a new Meadows Nursing & Rehabilitation facility this spring off Route 118, attorney Thomas O’Connor, said Jan. 29.
EEI operates The Meadows complex, which includes the Meadows Nursing & Rehabilitation Center as well as several apartments for the elderly and an assisted living facility off East Center Hill Road and Lake Stree.
The planned 130-bed project would relocate the existing nursing home off The Meadows campus to offer a larger facility “to meet the changing needs of the Back Mountain residents,” O’Connor said.
“The nursing home industry has changed,” he said. “A resident’s stay is much shorter, and it is more rehab focused.”
The Meadows Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a 130-bed elderly care home with over 100 staff and employees, was constructed nearly 37 years ago before modern technology and physical therapy advancements.
EEI, a nonprofit agency, looked into the possibility of renovating the building, but studies reported a remodel was not a cost-effective option, O’Connor said.
The Meadows campus, which includes two ponds, the Meadows Manor, an assisted living facility; the Meadows Apartments and Hi-Meadows Apartments, as well as M.M.R. Jr. Prep at Little Meadows does not have room to expand the existing nursing and rehabilitation center, he said.
EEI has purchased several parcels of land off Route 118, across from the Luzerne County Fairgrounds and the former golf driving range on Route 415. The acquired land totals nearly 77 acres.
The property transaction did create many rumors that the entire Meadows complex was going to be relocated but O’Connor said that is not true.
“We are planning to build a larger nursing home and relocate the current Meadows Nursing & Rehabilitation residents and staff to the new facility,” he said. “The East Center Hill Road building will be repurposed to be consistent with our mission to help the elderly. We are not going to sell it.”
EEI teamed up with Borton-Lawson, an architectural and engineering firm based in Northeastern Pennsylvania, to develop plans for the new elderly care home.
“Plans are not finalized,” O’Connor said, noting the project is still moving through the permitting process with Dallas Township and financing is still being arranged.
Since the new property straddles both Lehman and Dallas townships, O’Connor said EEI has engaged in discussion with Lehman supervisors, as well.
The nursing center’s proposed sewer line involves crossing Dallas Borough to provide service to the Back Mountain Regional EMS building as well as to the neighboring Luzerne County Fairgrounds, he said.
“There are so many programs at the fairgrounds that they should have restroom facilities,” O’Connor said. “The EMS building is a beautiful building that hosts many community events. They should also have restrooms.”
EEI applied for Local Shared Account grant to help with the cost associated with the sewer line, he said.
“We are trying to be a Back Mountain community partner,” O’Connor said. “The Back Mountain is a pretty vibrant place.”