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Lincoln County Board negotiates with buyer for Pine Crest Nursing Home

Protest at June 20 Lincoln County Board meeting for a referendum to keep Pine Crest county-run
Hannah Davis-Reid
People protest at June 20 Lincoln County Board meeting for a referendum to keep Pine Crest county-run

In Merrill, the future of the county-run Pine Crest Nursing Home has been uncertain for several months.

The county can no longer afford to keep it running, and they are now negotiating with a potential buyer.

Pine Crest Nursing Home is a five-star rated, 120- bed skilled nursing facility.

It’s owned by Lincoln County and run by North Central Health Care.

Don Friske is the Chair of the Lincoln County Board.

He reiterated the county’s top three priorities.

“I think number one thing is to go back to what the three things that the board has said for over a year, that we consider. Making sure that the residents of Pine Crest are taken care of, that they continue to get their care. Two, that the staff at Pine Crest have an opportunity to continue their employment, and three that the taxpayers of Lincoln County are well represented in the process,” said Friske.

Last month, Friske said that the committee reviewed the offer, voted, and agreed to work with their broker and potential buyer to negotiate a sale.

“We are under contract with a broker until February, I believe in February. So I would venture to say that we would probably come to some kind of resolution either yes or no with this potential offer by then,” said Friske.

Friske says the county ultimately wants the nursing home to remain operational and open to the community.

“When you're considering the property, the buildings, the staff, the residents, the the continued care, that continued employment, there's, there's a lot of considerations,” said Friske.

Throughout these negotiations, Friske says that there’s been a lot of false information swirling around.

“I believe there's a lot of misinformation and people are connecting dots that aren't there or, or are making assumptions or coming to conclusions that aren't based on the facts. But there's too many of them to try and unravel at this point," said Friske.

“The future, according to the county board, and what we're looking at for the citizens of Lincoln County, is the continued operation of Pine Crest as a skilled nursing facility well into the future,” said Friske.

Meetings discussing Pine Crest’s future are generally open and recorded for the public.

Friske says if you have questions, feel free to reach out to a county supervisor for more information.

Hannah Davis-Reid is a WXPR Reporter.
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