Senior Housing Development Gets Green Light in Grand Rapids

For decades in America, billions of dollars every year are pushed both privately and publically into assisted living facilities for senior citizens, better known as nursing homes. With the advances of modern medicine and surgical techniques, the average lifespan is pushing nearly 80 years old, with many millions of people living well into their 90s. Though during times like these, with a global pandemic hitting seniors much harder than others, nursing homes are becoming quite dangerous. Add in the fact that many are overcrowded and a lot of them are far too expensive, and seniors need other opportunities. This is why some areas like Grand Rapids build senior housing developments.

It was announced earlier this week that construction on a senior housing development in the Grand Rapids area will begin very shortly. The project is named Breton Hamlet and is modeled to be a senior housing development consisting of 48 individual units spread out over seven acres on Griggs Street in the middle of the city.

The news broke on Wednesday, August 12, that the Grand Rapids Planning Commission finally agreed to build this senior living community, after a few years of kicking around ideas about where a community for seniors could go in the community. It’s because of the global pandemic and the fear of nursing homes that the wheels started turning so quickly on this project. Most people on the Planning Commission and in Grand Rapids in general have elderly family members, and no one really trusts nursing homes right now. New York is proof of what can happen if a virus starts spreading inside of a senior living facility.

After seniors who still had Covid-19 were placed back into nursing homes in New York City, their visitors started catching the virus, which really caused a huge influx of cases. New York has around 30% of all the nation’s Covid-19 cases and around 40% of all deaths from the virus. It’s ground zero of the pandemic in the United States, and most experts cite nursing homes as the cause of the spread.

After it was announced Wednesday that the Planning Commission would be moving ahead, a formal vote was taken earlier today, Thursday August 13, and the community proposal passed unanimously. Though while the vote might be unanimous, it can still be appealed by residents in the area. While an appeal is likely to lose, as the Planning Commission will always have the final say, it could end up putting the project off by months or even years, and anything put on the shelf that long by government is likely never to resurface. Just ask the people who kept voting to finish the famed “Bride to Nowhere.”

Community Pushback

When a drug rehab center is proposed, or a homeless shelter receives funding, we’re used to, as a society, all the bleeding hearts lining up to beg for the buildings to go somewhere other than their neighborhoods. The very people who preach about the need to help others simply do not want these facilities located near them. Though the fact that so many people in Grand Rapids are opposed to a senior community is just mind boggling on many different levels.

A lot of people in the immediate and neighboring communities in Grand Rapids are pleading with the Planning Commission not to put the senior community in their community. They’re citing things like safety concerns, though they don’t seem to have an argument to add to the complaint. They’re also worried that having low-cost senior housing in the neighborhood is going to affect their property values.

This is nothing new for ultra-liberal areas in these upscale cities. In places like New York and Maryland, the citizens vote en masse to allow for illegal immigration into America. But when illegal immigrant activist groups fight to put immigrant children into good schools in these liberal neighborhoods, the parents fight tooth and nail to keep them out, leaving these children with no other option but to attend poorly funded, underperforming schools. Meanwhile, the parents still feel good about themselves because they’re supposed advocates for the immigrants.

We’re seeing much of the same here. These homeowners in the area champion doing something for seniors; they just don’t want it done where they live, as they’re afraid they might have to see the results, apparently. Regardless, it doesn’t appear as if there is enough backlash against the community to stop it from happening.

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