SPEARVILLE — The Kansas Department of Commerce has awarded a $250,000 tax-credit for Spearville Senior Living Inc. with donors eligible for substantial tax breaks.

According to SSL board of directors chairman Ron Temaat, all proceeds will be earmarked for the construction and operation of a skilled-nursing unit that offers 12 private rooms, each with a private bath, and a 12-unit assisted-living apartment complex as part of the $5.1 million project.

The one-year construction project will begin next spring and the residences will be built according to the Green House model, which focuses on resident-centered care.

The tax-credit award allows a donor to receive a tax credit equal to 70 percent of the gift.

"These tax credits supplement our local support by allowing a significant part of a donation to offset income-tax liability," Temaat said in a news release. "This makes contributions much more attractive."

Donors are asked to consult their tax advisors for details.

SSL is a non-profit entity with specific goals, one of which is addressing senior-living options, a critical need in the area.

"During the past few years, more than 20 local residents moved to out-of-town facilities," Temaat said. "If this trend continues, families and money will continue to leave Spearville.

"Our local senior citizens have lifelong roots here. By staying in Spearville, our neighbors can maintain close relationships, improve their quality of life and receive the care they deserve.

"As elders move into the new residences, their homes may become available to young families who want to move here for our quality of life and excellent school system."

The Spearville Senior Living will create more than 20 new jobs for nurses and their aides, as well as housekeeping, dietary and administrative positions.

According to Temaat, with the closure of the Spearville grocery store, Spearville Senior Living will support the school system and Main Sreet.

"We are grateful to the Department of Commerce for recognizing the benefits of this project to the Spearville community," Temaat said. "We are especially thankful for the maximum award of $250,000.

"Our SSL board is excited to see this project moving forward. We are working on local fundraising and continue to seek grant money.

Temaat expects the space to be operational by early 2021.

The plan for a senior living facility has been a priority for the past 15 years for Spearville.

"Efforts were made to find solutions but none really fit our needs," Temaat said. "The Tom Feist Foundation provided funding for studies to determine the viability of the upcoming project.

"Then, the GraceTeam was invited to help because of its experience in developing and managing senior living residences.

"We are fortunate to have John Grace and his team involved in this project. John’s experience and network enabled us to find the right companies to conduct studies and a financial analysis.

"GraceTeam is vital to our success during the final stages of financing, design and construction."

According to Temaat, GraceTeam will assist in training staff and managing day-to-day operations.

Letters of support for the project came from U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, State Rep. Leonard Mastroni and State Sen. Bud Estes as well as public agencies and local businesses and individuals.

According to Estes, people who need senior-living services, "are forced to move from Spearville. The new residences will allow them to stay at home.

"Also, the new 20-plus, good-paying jobs will increase tax revenue, school enrollment, home sales and purchases made from local vendors."

Estes added that 20 percent of the residents in Spearville are over 65.

"We are an aging community that cannot afford to have people leave the area," Estes said.

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