LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - A region in need of more senior housing is about to see just that.
The greater La Crosse area has relatively few elderly home options, and experts say demand will double in the region in the next 25 years as the Baby Boomer generation moves into retirement. Bethany Lutheran has taken a look at that need and is now moving forward with its latest senior housing project, slated for La Crosse.
According to Todd Wilson, chief executive officer of Bethany Homes, says Eagle Crest South was modeled after Onalaska's Eagle Crest North both in design and function. The facility will offer something no other elderly housing offers in La Crosse – assisted living with entertainment.
"La Crosse does not offer anything like that," he said. "A lot of offerings in La Crosse are based on an old model and not a socially active, vibrant lifestyle in which people desire."
Eagle Crest South comprises 144 rooms with a central Town Center that includes a movie theater, convenience store, bank branch, activities room and more, all about 150 feet away from each resident's door.
"The demand for this kind of living environment is unbelievable," Wilson said.
Demand for the housing speaks for itself. Wilson says more than 200 people have joined the waitlist for a room in Eagle Crest South. Edie Nutter, an 84-year-old living in a downtown La Crosse condominium, is one of them.
"I'm lonesome here," she said of her current home. "You don't see anything, you don't hear anything. I'm tired of eating alone."
With no children and a husband that passed away a decade ago, Edie has largely dealt with matters of money, housing and her estate by herself. Edie no longer drives, and has severe osteoporosis. After a winter like the one La Crosse just saw, she says she's been cooped up inside alone for far too long. For someone as active as Edie, she says Eagle Crest South would be the perfect match for her.
"There's arts and crafts, and you can have your meals with people and visit and chat," she said.
The project broke ground early last week and is slated to open for new residents in May of 2015.
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