Mankato's Green Home facility

The Green House Project created its first Green Home, Water’s Edge, in Mankato this August and is planning to expand its assisted living facilities, building a Green Home in Janesville by spring 2015. (Photo credit Water’s Edge)

This story has been updated with information from the Dec. 22 Janesville City Council meeting.

Janesville residents can soon explore a new option when it comes to assisted living.

Bradford Development of Mankato is planning to build an assisted living facility at 543 Oakwood Dr. and is expected to be complete by the end of 2015. While the Janesville Planning Commission recommended approval of a variance that will allow it to construct the facility, the City Council Monday approved the request.

After taking a drive through Janesville a few months back, Brad Bass, president of Bradford Development, decided the small town was the perfect spot for an assisted living facility.

Called a Green House home, it will resemble what it’s like to live in a real home. Bass purchased three lots in the Oakwood Drive subdivision for the building site, so the structure will not have any abutting neighbors. Unlike many assisted living facilities, Green House homes are smaller. The Janesville facility will house 12 residents.

The size, according to the Green House Project website, keeps a "flexible and maintaining a warm feel. The comfort of private rooms and bathrooms are combined with the family-like atmosphere of open common spaces"

Bradford Development built its first assisted living facility like this, Water's Edge, in Mankato in August, which was the first of its kind in the state. He says that smaller communities like Janesville are ideal for what the project is all about.

“Our goal is to help retain the elderly population and help the town retain its economic status by incorporating jobs,” said Bass.

Currently Janesville has its own nursing home, and Brooke Olson, director of operations at Bradford Development, says the Green House Project is different than a nursing home.

“Our model is to provide care for people of all different ages and levels of need. It really provides a smaller setting and a very home-like environment,” said Olson.

Unlike many assisted living and nursing homes, Bass’s staff is required to go through many hours of training aside from getting to know the building.

“Typically staff at assisted living and nursing homes go through around 20 hours of training. Our staff are required to go through 128 hours of training before being able to work in a Green Home,” said Olson.

Bass said the focus of the facility is to provide its residents with the care they need up to the end of their lives.

“Our programs are focused based on the needs of the people who live there. Our kitchen is open 24 hours a day and we don’t have scheduled meal times,” said Bass.

Bass said along with personalized individual care to residents, there will be opportunities for residents to interact with one another at the communal dining table.

“We want to give those who need care the opportunity to stay in their area and have another option in addition to the town’s current services,” said Bass.

If the need for more assisted living facilities in the Janesville area arises, Bass said more Green Homes could be added in the future if needed.

Reach reporter Kelsey Hering at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter.com @WCNhering.

Reporter for the Waseca County News covering Janesville and general assignment stories.

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