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Party on!

Continuing Care at Tallgrass Creek celebrates groundbreaking

Created date

April 23rd, 2013

It was March 28 and a near perfect Kansas afternoon for a groundbreaking experience. The weather was mild and the sky was blue, but the ground was muddy with melting snow from three back-to-back snow storms. But soggy ground didn t stop Tallgrass Creek residents, officials, and Overland Park dignitaries from celebrating the groundbreaking of the community s future continuing care neighborhood. They simply broke ground inside. Tallgrass Creek Executive Director Peter Crane welcomed the standing-room-only audience as he overlooked four sizable metal containers of dirt, each sporting shovels, hard hats, and blue bows. It s a little less than perfect to go to the ground today, so we brought the ground to us, said Crane. Crane introduced Erickson Living and Overland Park officials, including Chamber of Commerce President Tracey Osborne, who added her congratulations to the celebration. This is the most creative groundbreaking I have ever attended, said Osborne. It well signifies the unique atmosphere of Tallgrass Creek and the special nature of what s to come. Erickson Living Chief Operating Officer Deb Doyle also thanked residents for their efforts in making Tallgrass Creek a special place to live. This is a quantum leap in health care and just the beginning of more great days ahead, Doyle told attendees.

Dig in

After more celebratory remarks, groundbreakers donned hard hats and dug in. Along with Overland Park officials, diggers included Dr. Merrill Stiles, Tallgrass Creek resident Board member; Tallgrass Creek Board members Dr. Rosetta Robbins and Steve Hunsicker; Board Chairman Dr. Rod Coe; Doyle; and Crane. Following the ceremony, residents enjoyed wine as dining staff passed out bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and other mouth-watering appetizers. An impressive buffet served up shrimp cocktail, meats, cheeses, and salads. Dessert bars topped with tall vases of colorful, spring flowers offered fresh pastries, cookies, and candies. The air was filled with the sounds of piano and harp music as residents enjoyed each other and celebrated the addition of Blue Sage Pointe, named after a native Kansas grass. Bill Klasinski, chairman of the community s resident advisory council, said the continuing care neighborhood will tie Tallgrass Creek even closer to Johnson County, the thriving county in which the community resides. This is just a win-win for all of us, said Bill, who moved to Tallgrass Creek more than five years ago. It s a huge sense of comfort to all of us who live here and will add jobs and work for those in the community. The first phase of continuing care assisted living will open in December with completion of the entire project planned for late spring 2014. The neighborhood will generate more than $1 million in annual economic impact to Johnson County and Overland Park, Kans., and add 70 health care jobs. There will be 28 assisted living apartments, 28 memory care apartments, and 44 skilled nursing residences.

Icing on the cake

Tallgrass Creek Priority List member Debby Williamson plans to move to the community at the end of the year and said the continuing care neighborhood sealed her decision to make Tallgrass Creek her future home. When you look for a retirement community, you want three levels of care, said Williamson. Tallgrass Creek is such a great place and this just adds to its appeal. Margaret Lyddon moved to Tallgrass Creek two months ago and added her excitement about the future continuing care neighborhood. It s just fantastic, said Lyddon. They seem to have thought of everything here. Don Pinkston, a five-year resident of Tallgrass Creek, said the continuing care neighborhood was well worth the wait but added that people will always be the key component to any successful undertaking. The buildings and services are wonderful, said Pinkston. But the staff and residents are what make this a great place to live.