State of Summit: Third time could be the charm for senior housing at Lake Hill

This week on THE STATE OF SUMMIT: Krystal 93 hears from senior housing advocates with big plans for Summit County’s first senior living facility at the long-awaited Lake Hill property.

“I’m very excited for this multi-generational housing that’s proposed,” says Gini Patterson, former director of Timberline Adult Day Care. “I have seen families here in Summit County have a loved one that has needed memory care, assisted living care, and they’ve had to go to the Front Range for it, and yet their whole community support is here in Summit.”

Patterson attended a recent Q&A session about this possible senior housing facility at Lake Hill, the county’s next major housing project planned for property just outside of Frisco town limits on Dam Road.

Doing the heavy lifting on the senior housing plan is a local group, Staying in Summit. The county asked SIS to investigate housing facilities, and in turn, promised – with a handshake – just under 2 acres for this:

“A five-story building with approximately 60 units or suites for senior residences,” SIS advisory board member Susan Walker says. “A senior living community that is made-up of assisted living, memory care, respite, rehab and skilled nursing.”

SIS has come close to a senior facility before. Just ask longtime president Andy Searls.

“It’s almost happened about two or three (times),” Searls says. “And it’s very upsetting when it falls apart.”

But Searls says this time feels different.

“The (county) commissioners right now are enthusiastic,” she says. “It feels like there’s a lot more support, from both the town of Frisco and the county.”

She points to Summit’s growing population of seniors. As of the most recent U.S. Census, residents over 65 years old are the fastest-growing segment of Summit.

SIS is busting several myths about senior living in Summit County, like:

  • Seniors need supplemental oxygen: SIS says research shows the elderly acclimatize within 5 days of living at altitude.
  • Senior care workers can’t afford to live here: SIS is working with the county to secure housing at Lake Hill for employees. The entire community calls for 400 units, including the 60 senior care units.
  • Lake Hill is too far from the hospital: SIS is negotiating on-demand bus service with Summit Stage, as part of the county’s new “micro-transit” initiative.

But more importantly, Searls says, seniors do not want to leave the county they love.

“We need a cradle-to-grave approach,” Searls says. “The seniors love it here. We’re not leaving.”

First, Lake Hill itself needs approval. The county is reviewing a water agreement with the town of Frisco.