Governor’s Bend opens Tuesday

Brad Hicks • Oct 13, 2012 at 9:46 PM

ERWIN — Tuesday will mark the culmination of several years of planning, preparation and construction as the Governor’s Bend Retirement and Assisted Living Facility will see its first residents make the facility their new home.

“We’re thrilled for not only the residents, but the community to have such a beautiful facility here available for our seniors, and for it to be an assisted living which is the only one in Erwin or Unicoi,” Governor’s Bend Executive Director Johnnie Lyons said.

Lyons said around four or five residents will be moved in daily over a period of about 2½ weeks beginning this week. She said this is being done so Governor’s Bend staff can assist with residents with any needs they may have as they move into the facility.

“I don’t want any more than four to five a day so we can be here to assist and help with that,” Lyons said.

Prior to the construction of Governor’s Bend, a study was completed to assess Unicoi County’s need for an assisted living facility. In 2009, then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, who helped secure a $3 million grant for the project, was on hand for a groundbreaking. The land for construction of the facility was donated by the town of Erwin, and $5 million was borrowed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. Governor’s Bend, located at 1631 Zane Whitson Drive across from Fishery Park, will fall under the umbrella of Greeneville-based Free Will Baptist Family Ministries.

The more than 40,000-square-foot facility includes 52 suites made up of three apartment types — studio apartments, one-bedroom apartments with a living room/kitchen combination, and two-bedroom/two-bath apartments.

Services and amenities at the facility will include 24-hour nursing, three daily meals for residents, maintenance, housekeeping and laundry services, daily activities, a spa and salon, travel services and a chapel.

Lyons said the facility received its final state inspection on Monday was was given the go-ahead to begin allowing residents to move in.

“The community seems very excited,” Lyons said. “We have heard nothing but very positive comments, and the families and the residents coming are thrilled. I have some deposits that were actually given to me almost three years ago, when I first came over to Erwin and set my office up at Town Hall.”

Lyons said Governor’s Bend will provide its residents with a safe and secure environment and, because it is an assisted living facility, will allow them to continue to be part of the community.

“If Ms. Jones comes here to live and she has always hosted her club in August and she wants to host it in August here, she can do that,” Lyons said. “It does not change just because she’s moving from home here. Our residents can continue to be much a part of the community that they have made.”

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