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PONTIAC - A 60-unit supportive-living complex could soon be built on Deerfield Road in Pontiac.

Steve Kaufman, co-owner and operator of Northwest Illinois Holdings LLC said his company is planning to build a facility for seniors who can no longer live at home, but don't need the amount of care given in nursing homes.

"We provide activities of daily living," Kaufman said. "It's the care of helping people dress, bathe, groom and take medications. These people are basically the 'frail' group; they would have a hard time functioning at home."

Kaufman said 33 percent of the people living in nursing homes don't need that level of care.

On Tuesday, the city's planning and zoning board approved rezoning of the vacant land, which now is zoned for business, for residential use. The council will have the final say on Monday.

City Administrator Bob Karls said the residential zoning fits with the city's comprehensive plan. He said the area to the east of the supportive-living complex is planned to be residential.

The building would be directly south of the new St. Paul Lutheran Church on Deerfield Road.

Kaufman said the rezoning is the first step in the process of building. He said plans for the project still have to be completed, but he hopes to break ground on the project in May or June.

Northwest Illinois Holdings, based in Rockford, currently owns and operates several assisted-living centers in Illinois.

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services has already signed off on a permit for the facility, which will care for people on Medicaid and private-pay residents, Kaufman said.

Kaufman said some of the rooms would be like studio apartments, while others would have a separate bedroom. He said the smallest room will be 350 square feet. All will have private bathrooms.

Although Tuesday's meeting involved just zoning, a representative from the Service Employees International Union, which represents nursing home workers, brought up concerns about Kaufman's company.

Andy Friedman said problems have been reported at facilities run by other partners of Northwest Illinois Holdings. He said 50 state citations had been issued at 10 of the 11 facilities owned.

Kaufman did not comment on the allegations.

On the Net:

Northwest Illinois Holdings LLC properties caqn be seen at at www.grandvictorian.org

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