Since its grand opening last October, the Sheboygan Senior Community is serving as a welcoming beacon for the elderly population in this Wisconsin town on Lake Michigan. 

For the parties involved in the nearly $16 million project, it represents the successful culmination of strategic planning, partnership and cooperation in building something beneficial for residents.

Located on a 40-acre parcel of land in Sheboygan, the new facility replaces a building from the 1970s that became obsolete for appropriate resident care. The new structure includes a 60-bed licensed skilled nursing facility and 25-bed licensed community-based residential facility devoted to assisted and independent living. It also has capacity for memory care and post-surgical rehabilitation patients. 

USDA Rural Development provided the financial impetus for Sheboygan Senior Community, awarding an $11.4 million direct loan for development. Bank First National in Sheboygan also provided a $2.5 million loan guarantee under the Community Facilities Program.  The funds, leveraged with more than $1.8 million from the Center’s own coffers, completed a total of $15.8 million for the project.

The new facility is designed using the neighborhood model, which has separate households within the neighborhoods. The layout allows for a more home-like environment and greater flexibility in choice for residents, said Executive Director Paul Treffert. 

“The neighborhood model also makes it easier for staff when assisting residents to live safely and comfortably,” he said. Each neighborhood includes a shared living and kitchen area, with private bedrooms and bathrooms in each household.

A short-term rehabilitation area provides both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services, while additional amenities include a café, beauty salon, bank and a small store.

The facility is emblematic of the new era in long-term care real estate development, said Stan Gruszynski, Wisconsin State Director for USDA Rural Development.

“The facilities built in the ’70s are wearing out,” he said. “It used to be that nursing homes were a place of last resort. Now people need a broader range of services, from nursing care to rehab, assistance and social contact. When we look at funding for a project like this, we ask communities to look at census data and get a sense of their future needs.”

USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program provides financial assistance for the development of community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population.  Loans, guarantees and grants are available to public entities for the construction, purchase, and renovation of various essential community facilities. Since 2010, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $3.5 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities for Wisconsin families.