By Anne Holzman
The Falcon Heights City Council has unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the Town Square development at Snelling and Larpenteur avenues to allow an adult day-care center in the space formerly occupied by a pediatric clinic.
The permit was needed because, while child day care had been included in the site’s zoning at the time Town Square was built, adult day care had not been envisioned, said Brad Goering, project manager at Sherman Associates, owner of the Town Square property.
Gargaar Adult Day Center will run the facility, offering daytime programming, including meals, wellness checkups, bathing and grooming, and exercise. City Council member Mark Miazga noted that Gargaar has 16 years of experience operating child-care centers and this will be their second adult day-care site.
The physical changes planned for the property are internal, including adding a kitchen and other improvements, according to City Manager Sack Thongvanh. Dropoff zones and parking will be behind the building, as already established.
The Town Square development is midway through a 26-year tax-increment financing (TIF) period, Thongvanh said, so there will be no change for the city in tax receipts until that expires. “We still have about 15 years” of TIF status for Town Square, he said.
Properties with TIF status generate the same tax level to the city that they yielded at the outset of the TIF project, with any added value credited back to the property owner to help fund improvements. Town Square is a mixed-use property with residential and commercial occupants; like the clinic before it, the day care qualifies as commercial for tax assessment purposes.
Lisa Winters, housing director at The Wellington Senior Living in St. Paul, said adult day care is typically used by people with cognitive or behavioral needs who are living in a home with a caregiver rather than in an institutional setting. “It gives the caregivers a break,” Winters said, “or the caregiver may be working.”
Adult day care typically offers social stimulation, physical activity, cognitive challenge, and cultural activities such as art and music, Winters said.
Based on her professional networking, Winters has noticed a need for more senior housing and services. “The assisted living market has grown, and so have memory cares,” she said, but there is need for other services.
A generation of retiring Baby Boomers is creating “a really big need” for senior housing options, from subsidized apartments to “independent living with really nice services for those with money to spend,” Winters said.