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Senior living center work set to start

Downtown continues to see growth as community officials, projectdevelopers and other representatives participated in a ceremonialgroundbreaking for a $7 million assisted living facility to belocated on Monticello Street across from the Inez Hotel Thursdaymorning.

The 60,000-square-foot Morning Star Assisted Living Center willconsist of two separate buildings, the Tower and the Rotunda, andwill have the ability to house 71 occupants between its 51 suitesand 20 bedrooms. Contractors hope the construction, being handledby Paul Jackson and Son, begins in three weeks and to have thefacility built within a 12-month time frame.

“Being a certified retirement city, it makes it quite theproject,” said Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of CommerceExecutive Vice President Cliff Brumfield. “It’s been a missingpiece of the puzzle.”

The project will be unique to Brookhaven, as there is nofacility currently like it in town. The assisted living center willbe less intrusive than a nursing home, but allow those needingassistance to get more help than being at home.

“This will fill a niche for those individuals, families andcouples that need a place to stay while having a certain amount ofassistance, as well as enjoy their mobility,” said Brumfield.

While preserving the feel of downtown is important to those inthe area, the Tower of the assisted living center will have windowsfacing Monticello Street – giving it a shop front appearance. Therewill only be one entrance to the building, not accessible directlyfrom the street.

“We think it’s something that will suit the area,” architectPhilip W. Shaw said of the facility.

The first floor of the five-story Tower will contain physicaloperational therapy, beautician barber, offices, consultation,laundry facility and maintenance areas. The second through fifthfloors will consist of residential spaces.

The second building, the Rotunda, will have meeting rooms andrecreational facilities on the first floor, a full-service kitchenon the second floor and a roof garden.

“I think this is just going to be something huge forBrookhaven,” said District 92 Rep. Becky Currie, who was on handfor the groundbreaking.

The assisted living center has been several years in themaking.

Developer Gayle Evans Sr.’s project was originally turned downedby the Planning Commission about three years ago. Officials had anumber of concerns about the original proposed location onMonticello Street on the site of the former Posey Place that burnedin 2007.

However, after some encouragement from former Mayor BobMassengill, Evans decided to give Homeseekers Paradise another try.Also, the new location on Monticello Street across from The Inezwas found and the project moved forward.

“This is my hometown,” said Evans. “I had a lot of trouble, butI don’t look at it bad because anything worth having is worth thefight.”