$170M county farm nursing home goes from all in a rush to rocking chair

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The interior of the expansive atrium inside the proposed entrance to the new nursing home to be built at the county farm in Dover. (Architect rendering)

DOVER - Tuesday's meeting that had been set for a Strafford Delegation revote on a $170 million proposal for a new county nursing home has been scrapped as county officials said they need more time to answer questions about the details of the proposal and seek additional funding sources.
In addition to backing away from an expansive - and expensive - atrium in the great room shown in conceptual renderings by Warrentstreet Architects, Strafford County Commissioner George Maglaras said he's convinced more funding at the state and federal level can be found to help lessen the load for county taxpayers.
The direction now seems to be to slow down the process so that the county can get the necessary supermajority it needs to authorize bonding for the project.
No timetable was announced for the next meeting on the proposed nursing home to replace Riverside, which all delegates have voice support for, but not to the extravagant extent that Maglaras envisioned.
Maglaras said earlier this week he thought he could pare the bottom line down to $140 million, but even that may not be enough.
Much of Thursday's workshop was spent determining where money could be saved in what is expected to be a less lavish facility.
Meanwhile, in an email from County Administrator Ray Bower sent the delegation and obtained by The Rochester Voice, he states that conceptual design costs thus far total $60,000, and will be "deducted off the price of their work if and when the project is approved."
That verbiage leaves open the possibility that they would be paid nothing for work done if they don't get the green light. Could that mean another lawsuit?
Bower was not immediately available for comment.
And with no date for either a workshop or vote, it looks like the Sept. 9 deadline to get $25 million in state and federal aid for the project will likely fall by the wayside.
Late in August the delegation voted 21-13 in favor of the $170 million project, but fell short of the two-thirds supermajority required for bonding.

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September 04, 2022 at 7:22am
Kudos to the delegation for actually having a conversation on the project. With a price tag of $170 million, this didn’t need to be rushed. There’s still far too many unanswered questions to move forward.
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