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Published: Wednesday, 12/13/2006

Otterbein Community's $2.5M fix-up going strong

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Big changes are under way at the Otterbein Portage Valley Retirement Community in Troy Township, just north of Pemberville.

Phase one of a $2.5 million renovation project that includes a variety of upgrades to increase and improve services and amenities is nearly complete, said Rosemary Cicak, vice president of marketing and public relations for Otterbein Retirement Living Communities.

The Wood County commissioners this fall approved a $20 million bond issue for Otterbein Homes, which plans to expand not only in Pemberville, but also in Perrysburg and several other locations in the state.

The first phase in Pemberville involves $100,000 in landscape enhancements. More trees have been added along with fencing, signage, and thousands of perennial flowers, plants, and decorative grasses.

In addition, a half-acre recreational pond and a fishing platform have been constructed. The pond will be stocked with fish in the spring.

Otterbein resident Joe Ablett, 84, said he's looking forward to dusting off his fishing pole and going out in his own backyard to try to hook some fish.

"I like to fish," he said. "When they get through with it, I think it's going to be nice."

More first-phase additions include a private clubhouse, a wellness/fitness studio, and three new apartments to make 28. At Otterbein Portage Valley, individuals can choose to live in either apartments or condo-like patio homes with garages.

Though the marketing office that recently moved as part of the first phase is up and running, the clubhouse is not quite finished because residents are still considering what should go there, Ms. Cicak said.

Right now, she said, there are areas for computers, massage therapy, and playing games.

Mr. Ablett, who has lived in the community for seven years, said he's looking forward to the casual atmosphere of the clubhouse, which will also offer coffee and snacks for those who gather there to play games, chat, or entertain guests.

"I think it's going to be a good place for the independent residents to get together for fellowship and games and so forth without having to go up to the main building and hunt for a room," he said.

"There's a lot of inconveniences along the way, but I think it's going to be pretty snappy when they get finished."

Additional phases are planned after the first of the year, Ms. Cicak said.

Phase two will add another five apartments that are slated to be completed in the spring.

The rehabilitation center would also be moved to another area as part of this second phase.

Phases three and four will create an additional 18 assisted-living suites to add to the dozen already in place, and renovate the nursing home's dining room and some employee spaces.

"We've identified that Portage Valley has a need for more apartments and a need for more assisted living," Ms. Cicak said. "This is one way that we're able to provide that. It's pretty innovative and exciting."



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