ST. JOSEPH - St. Joseph is working to bring in a new senior facility, with construction expected to start this year.

The proposed facility would have 60 independent living units and 24 units for memory care. Commercial features would include a rehabilitation center, hair salon, chapel and bistro. A specific site for the facility hasn't been announced, but it would be in a rural area.

City administrator Judy Weyrens says St. Joseph residents have long requested senior and life cycle housing in town.

(Photo: City of St. Joseph)

"A lot of people would like to retire in St. Joseph but there really is nothing available specifically for them. We have some apartments and assisted living, but there's nothing to this level that provides services and care where they could basically age in place."

It's estimated the project will cost between $14-$16 million. St. Joseph made a tax abatement request for the project last week to the Stearns County Board of Commissioners. The request was referred to the Stearns County tax abatement committee to review.

The city is also working on finalizing the site plan. The city council will need to have a similar conversation on tax abatement and will hold a public hearing.

Werens says the site would also attract residents from Avon, Albany and Collegeville. There's a desire to live in a rural area, while still having access to larger facilities like St. Cloud Hospital and various retail.