The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 22, 2014

Lafayette's assisted-living Good Samaritan home closes

By Robb Murray rmurray@mankatofreepress.com
The Mankato Free Press

---- — LAFAYETTE — The Good Samaritan Society assisted-living facility in Lafayette has closed, but the town’s mayor says he’s hopeful they’ll find another tenant for the building.

When it closed earlier this month, it had 11 residents in a facility set up for 23. Lafayette Mayor Darren Saffert said the facility had been underpopulated for several years.

But the death knell came when Good Samaritan Society opened an assisted-living facility in Winthrop, a larger town six miles away.

The Winthrop facility opened near a nursing home. Both are a stone’s throw from a new clinic that is scheduled to open soon.

“That was tough,” Saffert said.

Several decades ago when Good Samaritan opened the Lafayette home, it was able to do so only after the town raised enough money to pay for its construction. It then gifted the building to them.

That’s why Good Samaritan Society is willing to gift the building back to the city if it comes to that.

Saffert said that the city figured it would need to spent roughly $300,000 to $400,000 on future upgrades to keep the facility viable. To do that, they’d need to pass a levy.

“It’s hard to justify that in a town of 500 people,” he said.

So they’ve looked into other uses, including converting it into city offices or a fitness center. Most likely, though, is that the city will find another tenant for the building.

Good Samaritan Society, Saffert said, has been flexible in giving the city time to find a replacement tenant.

If it doesn’t, Saffert said, Good Samaritan Society will have to cover the costs of tearing the building down.