It's been decided. The first regional facility built by Red River Supportive Housing - Logement Supervisé de la Rivière Rouge Inc., will go up in Morris.
The housing complex would be the first step, and serve as the hub, to enhancing housing, social, economic, and community services in the Town of Morris and RMs of Morris and Montcalm.
Morris Deputy Mayor, Chris Hamblin, chairs the group and says they are looking to attach it to the existing arena and Multiplex. They are eyeing a plot of land on the west side of the Multiplex currently owned by the Valley Ag Society.
"Which has, of course, the halls, it has the commercial kitchen which would be used, we think, to support the assisted living structure. But more importantly, we want a facility that's attached to that hub because we want the residents to be able to walk to go watch their grandchildren play hockey or to play curling, or if there's a function going on in the hall that they can just walk there indoors and not have to go outside, not have to risk falling on icy sidewalks or any of that kind of thing."
A request will soon go out for proposals (RFP) for the design phase.
"We're very excited that we're starting to get some things moving. It's obviously a slow process, lots of decisions to be made and we don't want to rush it," said Hamblin, noting the Board is currently working on the details of what should be included in the RFP.
"We're looking at probably 50 suites. We want it to comply with all the building standards. We'd like it to be somewhat energy efficient. We want to have it linked to the Multiplex. We're hoping to have an outdoor terrace on one of the levels. It's probably going to be, we're thinking, four-stories high but again, this will be all ironed out with the next phase. We're looking at some covered parking, not necessarily totally indoors, but certainly covered so that residents that do have vehicles can access those vehicles without having to shovel snow off of them and that kind of thing. And we want to incorporate some green space."
The hope is to have the RFP out early in February with a turnaround time of about a month, according to Hamblin.
"So, by the end of February or mid-March, we're hoping to be reviewing those responses and selecting someone."
She noted, this is just for the design phase and to get some preliminary costs for the project.
"We decided to do a stepped process because we need to make sure that we're able to handle what we're visioning. So, the first stage is to put that down on paper and, you know, just see what it might look like."
Once this has been established, then the fund raising can begin.
Hamblin added, excitement is building as the project pushes forward.
"It's never as fast as people need it. We know it was needed 10, 15, 20 years ago and we're excited that it's moving forward. We are looking forward to the stage when we can actually take it out to the community and show them what we're thinking and get some feedback and hopefully, get some support, financial support, because that's going to be critical to moving this forward."