Memory care center gets warm reception
by BRIAN NADIG
A proposal to build a senior memory care center at 3655 N. Central Ave. received a warm reception from the 100 residents who attended a June 29 community meeting hosted by Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th).
Villegas’ policy director Justin Heath said that the alderman plans to support rezoning the parcel to accommodate the project after residents voiced support for it. Villegas had the property downzoned last year to RS-2, which is intended primarily for single-family homes, after a plan to build a 55-unit affordable housing complex there failed to materialize due to community opposition.
Plans call for the construction of a three-story facility with 66 beds and 30 parking spaces. The 42,250-square-foot center, which would be operated by Anthem Memory Care, would have about 50 employees, who would work on staggered shifts.
The for-profit Anthem, which focuses on the care of those suffering from dementia, has assisted living facilities in Illinois, Colorado, California and Kansas. The Central-Waveland facility would be named Portage Park Place.
Company officials told residents that while the outer doors are kept locked, patients are encouraged to walk around the facility and that there is a sensor which notifies staff when a patient gets out of bed, according to Heath, "It’s really cutting edge, state-of-the-art," he said.
Some residents expressed concern that vehicles would access the center’s main parking lot from Waveland Avenue, a side street, but project representatives said that they would look into the feasibility of using Central, according to Heath.
The site was once home to a Dominick’s grocery store. A CVS Pharmacy was later built on the southern half of the site, while the northern half has remained vacant for years.