FARMINGTON — Construction of a $4 million Woodlands Senior Living “memory care” center has begun in Farmington.

An official groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday at the construction site on Knowlton Corner Road, where Farmington town officials and business representatives applauded the Waterville-based company for bringing a care facility here.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the town,” Town Manager Richard Davis said, adding that the center not only will add to the tax base and provide 30 new jobs, but also will offer quality health care for the area.

The 36-bed facility and its staff will provide care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses. Woodlands Chief Operating Officer Matthew Walters, who co-owns the company with his father, Lon, said about 25,000 Mainers are living with Alzheimer’s disease today, 700 of them in Franklin County.

Woodlands Memory Care of Farmington will be the first of its kind in the area.

“We’re very proud to be coming here to Farmington to serve the community,” Walters said.

Karen Staples, a representative from the office of U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, read a letter from the congressman praising Woodlands for the care it has provided at its 11 other facilities.

Woodlands “truly gets how important the Mainers over 65 are to the community,” he wrote. “What a gift (the facility) will be for families in Franklin County.”

Woodlands received official approval for the Farmington project from the Planning Board last month. Earlier this summer, residents at a special town meeting approved giving the company a tax break to develop the facility. Through a tax increment financing agreement, 100 percent of the property taxes paid by Woodlands will be reimbursed to the company for 10 years.

Lon and Matthew Walters have said that because the Farmington property, formerly farmland, was completely undeveloped, the TIF agreement will blunt some of the upfront development costs, which are projected to be around $800,000.

The project is expected to take one year to complete, with anticipated opening in September 2017.

The 20,000-square-foot building will be built specifically to care for people with memory impairments by providing an orienting design flow and a secure environment. The facility will feature 12 single rooms and 12 double rooms, along with a large, open-air central atrium, individually zoned climate control, a video monitoring safety system, an outdoor courtyard with walking paths, and community areas for residents to engage with other.

Woodlands also operates facilities in Waterville, Brewer, Hallowell, Rockland, Cape Elizabeth and Lewiston.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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