The Horton City Commission, during a special Wednesday evening meeting, took action as part of the process necessary to attempt to save the city’s lone nursing home.

It was a full house at the Horton Blue Building, and those in attendance, by a show of hands, indicated overwhelming support for the City to do whatever is necessary to keep the facility open.

The City of Horton was notified at the start of the month regarding the decision of the Mission Village Living Facility Board of Directors to close the facility.

Board Member Tom Kidwell was in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting. He told MSC News a number of factors, including a declining population at the living center, played into the board’s decision. “[There were] many things that had been changing the last 5 years with us,” Kidwell said. “Our residents had dropped. We had a PA that worked at the [now closed] Horton Hospital, he was on our board. He sent us customers. It was hard to get administrators. The one we had hired, she left a couple years ago, so we kind of just ran it with Action Pact, [the firm that] had been helping us. They hung their license on the board, and they’re the ones that are wanting to put a new facility into Hiawatha. They’ve actually been helping us for free. We paid them some, but they still are owed a lot of money for what they’ve done for us.”

Following an executive session, Commissioner Ken Krug made a motion, which was unanimously approved by the Commission, for the city to proceed with taking the action necessary to negotiate the transfer of the ownership of the business and operations of the Mission Village Living Center to the City of Horton.

Rick Clement, a member of the living center’s Board of Directors indicated the Board is willing to transfer ownership to the city. Four of the nine board members were present.

Clement, who has been a board member for 3 years, said the decision to close didn’t come easily, with the board holding on as long as they could. He said they are currently behind around $130,000, with a significant amount owed to local vendors. He added the nursing home has been struggling for some time to just make payroll. The action of the Commission followed lengthy discussion, with those in attendance asking questions and offering comments about the fate of the facility.

Mayor Bryan Stirton told MSC News it’s the City’s intention to keep the facility as a nursing home without relocating the residents. “The City has decided to take the next step to do some more exploring for different options,” he said. “We have two or three viable interests in the facility, so this allows us to continue to move forward. I worked really hard last week, reached out to some different companies that were interested. We still have some sorting out to do with them. It’s going to be a process, but hopefully it’s a timely process. We’ll need funds raised, how to finance, how we’re going to finance this transition, but it can be done with the community support that we just had tonight.”

The Mission Village Living Center is a 35-bed facility currently owned by the NEK Center for Health and Wellness and managed by Manhattan-based Action Pact. The city owns the property where the building is located. A letter addressed to employees of the living center, formerly known as Tri-County Manor, stated earlier this month that a June 8 closing date had been set.

Brian Hagen of MSC News contributed this story.