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Future of a nursing home in Merrill under discussion

Pine Crest Nursing Home
WAOW Television
Pine Crest Nursing Home

Pine Crest Nursing Home based out of Merrill houses more than 80 people, but its future is in the hands of Lincoln County officials and the public.

The county hosted a question-and-answer session at Bradley Town Hall Thursday to inform the public what the stakes are and what can be done about the situation.

Before anything can be done, there are financial hurdles that need to be properly acknowledged.

"Within the next 10 years, we have about $8 million of major maintenance and updates that need to be done at Pine Crest," said Ken Wickham, a county supervisor.

The county-owned facility has turned over some control to North Central Health Care, but due to evolving factors, it has not been profitable.

The final say of what happens to the facility is up to the county board.

"We're not looking to do this in the next couple weeks, but we do want to come to a decision and a resolution that the county board can support and get behind," said Don Friske, the chair of the county board.

Some of the options being considered include a referendum to offset losses, changing programming at the facility, or repurposing it altogether.

Among those in attendance Thursday, there was not a consensus opinion on what should happen.

"I believe in privatization, that's me personally, I just think it's better run, not that they haven't been doing a good job. Reasonable people can come to reasonable solutions, so we've got a lot to consider," said Kim Brixus of Tomahawk.

Others say they learned a lot from the session and just want what is best for those who live and work there.

The county is set to host another similar session on the topic next Wednesday at the Lincoln County Government Services building.

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