April 8, 2014


Owners of Char-Mac Assisted Living have announced plans to build a 36-unit assisted living campus in Manning, looking for opening late spring or early summer 2015 . Jeanine Chartier and her husband Stan, of Lawton, Iowa, own and operate two facilities in northern Iowa. Char-Mac Assisted-living in Lawton opened in 2000. Char-Mac of Holstein opened in 2005 and was expanded for senior living in 2012.

The Char-Mac programs have been recognized by the Iowa Center for Assisted Living and the National Center for Assisted Living as top award-winning premier facilities in the region. Char-Mac has had repeated perfect State of Iowa surveys performed by the Department of Inspections and Appeals and received the Iowa Venture Award in 2012 for rural economic development.

"We had been looking for a third campus site that was within reasonable distance from our other locations. We were invited to look at Manning. It's a progressive town and with the new hospital going in (the new Manning Regional Healthcare Center will open this spring), I think it is going to be a wonderful addition," said Jeanine Chartier. "Char-Mac's goal is to provide excellence in care to our tenants."

"We're very rural-based. We're definitely small-town, country atmosphere," she continued. "I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of helping people on their journey in life; making it pleasant, and making sure they have quality care and that they are getting the services that make their lives easier. When someone comes into assisted living in their hometown, they already know everybody and so it becomes a real social network for them, and they blossom just from that part, let alone getting great nutrition and getting their meds correctly."

Manning's Char-Mac campus will be located on 10 acres south of the school. Of the 10-acre site, only about 4 acres will be developed at this time. Much of it will be green space, allowing the ability to expand later if needed.

"We have finalized what part of the land that we are obtaining from Larry (Stangl) and where the streets are going to be. Now we're ready to design the building to fit the ground," she said. "It will probably be late summer when they will be doing some of the earth-moving. It will depend on getting the design done. We're hoping they can get the building enclosed enough to work on it all winter, and we're hoping for early summer or late spring to be open."

Chartier has worked closely with Stangl over the past year. She said he has been very instrumental in bringing Char-Mac to Manning. Stangl and his wife, Sue, donated 6 of the 10 acres to the project.

"Larry has probably been the easiest land owner you can imagine when it comes to working this whole thing out," commented Dawn Rohe, Manning city administrator.

Referring to the facility, Stangl said, "It's been a dream. I wish I'd had it six years ago for my mother."

Stangl and Manning developer Jerry Rasmussen often discussed the community need, and Rasmussen had experience with one of the existing facilities and knew it provided quality care. They invited the Chartiers to look at Manning, and at that time, the couple were looking to build a third facility somewhere. Stangl said she was in Manning a lot last summer and thoroughly scoped out the town.

When asked about his land donation, he said, "I'm from the (President) Kennedy era, and I kind of downsized his saying. It's not what your town is going to do for you; it's what you're going to do for your town to keep it going. This is just one way. I hope everybody can benefit from this. I kind of did this in memory of my folks and Sue's dad. They helped me with the purchase of that land and did so much for me. I just wish they could have enjoyed it."

He said that when he bought that piece of land his mother-in-law even envisioned an assisted-living facility there.

"For my mother the best thing that would put a smile on her face was little kids. So it's a perfect spot up there because they can see the schoolkids," he said.

Care of parents is a somewhat common thread. The first Char-Mac was built because of Chartier's mother.

She said, "I got started in this work because I was an occupational therapist in northwest Iowa, and I traveled between the nursing homes. My mother had Alzheimer's and I knew I needed to get her on a list for future placement, and, basically, my husband said, 'Why don't you build your own place?'."

She first dismissed the thought, but later it took root. She obtained some land and said things fell into place. As she now plans the Manning campus, having school students and activity within view of residents is a priority. Stangl said he drove her into the field so she could visualize what would be visible. He said she wants to have a patio and space outdoors so residents can listen to the football game or watch the kids.

Char-Mac programs provide an inviting atmosphere where seniors can get personal assistance with medication administration, bathing, dressing, and ambulation, among other services. Flexible service packages are customized to the needs of each tenant.

The Char-Mac campus planned for Manning will have 36 apartments with kitchenettes and private bath/shower facilities. Some of the apartments are designed for single occupants, some for couples. Other amenities will include a common dining room where three home-cooked meals are prepared each day, a lounge for entertaining family and friends, an activity/exercise room, and a TV/theater room. Laundry facilities will be onsite, as well.

Referring to Chartier, Rohe said, "She does really amazing things with funding for her residents to make it affordable for them to live there; specifically veterans. She is well-versed on how to make it affordable for people."

Char-Mac participates with numerous funding sources. Long-term care insurances generally pay toward a stay at the assisted-living, Veterans Aide/Attendance also can be available for active war-time veterans or their surviving spouse, private pay, HUD rent vouchers, and Elderly Waiver (Iowa Medicaid).

The 24-hour assistance facility will employ 18-25 people through RN, CNA, dietary and administrative positions when the facility is fully functioning.

Chartier is now working with the architects to start the official design for the layout of the ground. The project will involve some major road construction. Two streets will access the property, one providing access from East Street and another from 10th Street. Stangl will retain a portion of land near the northeast corner of the property where he can offer some residential lots sometime in the future. He emphasized the assisted living comes first. He has been working extensively with Char-Mac engineers for over a year. He will present his plans to Manning's Planning and Zoning Commission for approval. The land was recently added to the city's urban-renewal plan, and tax-increment financing has been implemented.

Rohe praised Stangl's generosity saying, "The land is a huge injection, and it makes Manning a lot more desirable to a business that is trying to start off. He is definitely very community-minded and it has shown through this whole process."

Chartier commented, "Stan and I are very excited to begin our journey in the community of Manning. We love providing seniors with quality care options. Every day of serving our elders is a blessing to us. Our mission is to make life better for our new family members."