The sudden closure of the Slayton Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in May 2019 created the need to address housing and services for older adults in the area. Over the last year Southwest Regional Development Commission (SRDC) has partnered with the City of Slayton and Operation Prairie Venture (OPV) on strategic planning efforts to address these concerns.
One of the results of these initiatives is the development of a Strategic Plan for the City of Slayton to Increase Housing and Services for Older Adults. The final plan is a tool for the city to think holistically about these issues, and outlines guiding principles, goals, and strategies for the city to move forward with addressing housing and service concerns. Central to accomplishing these goals will be the need for collaboration and partnerships over many years, the need for a regional focus, providing competitive employment opportunities, and the need for flexible and sustainable service solutions.
The planning process began in March 2020, with the City of Slayton providing funding for SRDC to work on planning efforts. Lynn Johnson, President of OPV, was designated as the point person for managing the strategic planning process with SRDC. During the process, SRDC facilitated a series of meetings to coordinate planning and create a mission, vision, and value statements to guide OPV; assisted with OPV’s website design and social media; and developed and distributed a community survey. The results of these efforts have been incorporated into the strategic plan.
The City has already made great steps toward accomplishing goals outlined in the plan by moving forward with the proposal from Minnesota Signature Care to build a 24-bed facility. This is a major victory for the city, all stakeholders, and concerned citizens. This project alone, however, will not meet all of the local needs for housing and services for older adults. The city has the opportunity to build on the momentum of this project to build new partnerships, strengthen existing relationships, and pursue creative venues to fulfill the remaining housing and service needs in Slayton.
Addressing housing and services for older adults can have positive ripple effects for the entire community. As older adults downsize, new housing becomes available to a younger generation. Building new facilities creates jobs and builds a stronger tax base. Successfully working to build projects generates greater social capital and higher quality of life, which then makes the community a more attractive place to live. These combined efforts will contribute to a place everyone is excited to call “home.”