John Montgomery (from right) with Southern Administrative Services talks about quality of life for elders in the Green House Cottage concept with Chamber Board Member Vickie Mitchell and Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp.

The Green House Cottages of Walnut Ridge eldercare facility is expected to open this fall, and a tour on May 25 provided community leaders and elected officials with a chance to get an early look at the property.

John Ponthie, managing member of Southern Administrative Services, greeted attendees and expressed appreciation to Mayor Charles Snapp and State Rep. Fran Caveanugh for their support of the project.

“Mayor Snapp and Representative Cavenaugh have really carried the banner for us,” he said. “We have had unparalleled support.”

The Walnut Ridge project is the sixth Green House Cottage development in Arkansas for Southern Administrative Services, which provides support services to a network of 30 long-term care facilities.

The Green House Cottages of Walnut Ridge project represents both the construction of a new long-term care campus and the redevelopment of the existing Walnut Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center facility. In all, it comprises a $10.9 million investment.

“It is amazing the investment that is happening here,” Cavenaugh said, noting that she was not just talking about the monetary investment. “This green house concept provides dignified skilled care. I appreciate the investment in Walnut Ridge, but even more important the investment in our seniors.”

In the Green House Cottages, elders live in a home-like environment. In contrast to traditional nursing homes with long hallways lined with rooms, the facility is made up of small cottages with private suites surrounding a common living area. At the Walnut Ridge facility, each cottage features a beauty salon/spa, fireplace, front and back porches and state-of-the-art kitchen.

John Montgomery, lead for special projects within Southern Administrative Services, led a tour of one of the cottages and described work remaining to be done, staffing and what the life of an elder at the cottage would be like.

“The Green House Cottages is a place where elders come to live, not where they go to die,” he said, noting a flexibility in schedule as a key benefit.

He stressed that the Green House Cottages of Walnut Ridge is a nursing home facility, not assisted living or senior housing. Applications are available at Walnut Ridge Nursing and Rehab.

Ponthie said the company’s goal is to make a better tomorrow in elder care, and he is happy to be working toward that in Walnut Ridge.

“We’re looking forward to being a part of this community,” he said.

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