City celebrates groundbreaking at Magnolia Gardens

From left: Resident Pat Patterson, Mayor Jeff Gowing, Commissioner Heather Buch, owner Doug Sproul, Executive Director Tara Blount and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Travis Palmer celebrate Magnolia Gardens Senior Living community’s groundbreaking on Oct. 2.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Oct. 2 for the construction of 37 new apartments at Magnolia Gardens Senior Living community.

“As we have an aging community, the need for having more housing to keep our people in town when they can’t stay in their residences that they had been in for so long — we know there is a great need for that,” said Mayor Jeff Gowing at the ceremony, “and so I want to continue to see it happening and keep our residents that spent so many years here, still here.”

Magnolia Gardens offers assisted living, memory care and active independent living, though the facility is often at capacity and maintains a long wait list.

The construction is intended  to enhance the function and accessibility between the assisted living and memory care communities as well as provide new assisted and memory care options. The roughly $6.5 million project was made possible by a loan from Oregon State Credit Union and will see 20 additional beds of memory care and 17 additional units of assisted living.

Magnolia Gardens  is operated by Mosaic Management. The company’s president Doug Sproul expressed his desire to be a participant and asset in the community while lamenting the tendency of larger senior housing companies to lose touch with their local population.

“As they grew, they lost sight of the people,” he said. “When I started Mosaic, I started with the concept that we’re all a family — everybody here on planet Earth, everybody in Cottage Grove, we’re part of the same family and we have a responsibility for looking out for each other.”

The additional apartment space also fills a housing need in the city.

“Housing everywhere in the country, especially in Oregon, is in short supply and we can’t keep up,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Travis Palmer. “People will leave a community if there isn’t something that fits their needs.”

Gowing was also optimistic that the addition of housing would strengthen deeper community bonds.

“You live your life, you work your career and then you retire and then you get to the point where you’ve got to get assisted living,” he said. “If you’ve got to go to Eugene, you’ve lost that connection from the town. So, it’s just another way to keep people in town.”

Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch spoke to the diversity offered by the expansion.

“We have a housing market that’s really out of control right now and it’s so wonderful to see the variety of different kinds of housing that are going into Cottage Grove,” she said. “And now we have more homes here that are just a huge variety for different needs and that’s exactly what we need.”

Palmer added that the expansion of the facility would be a boon for economic growth.

“Assisted living as a business class of economy is the 47th largest business economy in the country,” he said. “It’s a major, major economic engine for our entire country.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the senior living industry employed 892,000  people in 2016 and predictions are that demand will grow.

“So, it’s not just the economic impact of the construction jobs that are created. There’s permanent double-digit job growth coming to this one facility,” said Palmer. “Any one project that adds double-digit job growth, that’s a great thing for our community.”

The expansion is expected to offer somewhere between 15 to 20 new jobs.

“I love groundbreakings because they’re so symbolic of a healthy community and a healthy Cottage Grove,” Palmer said.

Now nearly a year into the process, construction is expected to finish in roughly 10 months. Reservations are currently being accepted for the new apartments.

For more information, call Magnolia Gardens Senior Living at 541-942-0054.

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