County seeks use for old nursing home

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Could be used as assisted living facility

By John Barnhart

    Bedford County is exploring the possibility of turning the old county nursing home building into an assisted living facility.

    The old building, built in the 1950s, served as the county’s nursing home until a new, much larger facility replaced it a few years ago. Little more than a parking lot separates the new building from the old.

    The  board  of  supervisors’  nursing home committee has been looking into the possibility of turning the old building into an assisted living facility. Board Chairman John Sharp told the other supervisors, Monday night, that county staff has determined that the building can be operated as a 28 resident assisted living facility. It will, however, need some repairs and renovation. The plan is to offer it under a long-term lease to a private entity that would renovate and operate it.

    “The county has no money to put into it,” commented District 6 Supervisor Annie Pollard.

    Sharp suggested that the county advertise the building’s availability to see if anybody is interested.

    “This board already concluded that we don’t want to be in this business,” said Sharp.

    “I understand we are in no position to operate an assisted living center and have no business getting into anything like that,” commented Pollard, adding that she didn’t think the county has any business operating a skate park, either.

    The supervisors unanimously approved advertising the building’s availability. County Administrator Kathleen Guzi estimated the advertising cost as between $2,000 and $3,000 at a minimum. This will include ads run in two trade journals in Virginia as well as newspaper advertisements.

    In other business, the supervisors reappropriated $884,000 in money left over from the 2008-2009 fiscal year, which ended on June 30.

    “Even though you all have appropriated, we know not to spend it unless we have to,” commented Guzi.

    “I hope you can do it again,” said District 5 Supervisor Steve Arrington.

    “Next year is really going to be the toughest year we’ve had,” added District 7 Supervisor Gary Lowry.

    The supervisors approved accepting a $44,000 federal grant for the Sheriff’s Office. This passed on a 4-3 vote with Sharp, Arrington and District 3 Supervisor Roger Cheek voting against it. Arrington noted that he opposed accepting it because it is federal stimulus money.

    Monday night’s meeting also featured some public appearances. Ricky Wilkerson complained about the number of county owned vehicles which, he said, number more than 300. According to Wilkerson, the Sheriff’s Office has 134 and the school division has more than 100. Wilkerson suggested paying county employees mileage to use their own vehicles rather than providing a county vehicle.

    “The money you are working off now, you won’t have next year because people are out of work,” he said. “Don’t go raising my taxes because somebody asks for money.”

    Mantana Heim spoke on behalf of the Moneta-Smith Mountain Lake Community Market. Heim organized this farmers’ market two years ago and it currently uses property next to Resurrection Catholic Church on Va. 122.  Heim and five others form an advisory board that oversees it. The advisory board is asking the supervisors to include the same amount of support for the Moneta Market that they do for the Bedford Farmers Market stating that the market in Moneta does not compete with Bedford’s.