Pearl City Place gets renovations, ‘big relaunch’

Heather Morrison, right, marketing director of Pearl City Place in Muscatine, gives a tour to area residents after a Wednesday, Sept. 13, ribbon-cutting ceremony. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

MUSCATINE – There is a sign at Pearl City Place that says “This is my favorite place. These are my favorite people.”

The new owners of Pearl City  – the assisted living and memory care center that has been in this community for many years at 2807 Cedar St. – hope the updated facility will become a new favorite in the community.

Since undergoing an ownership change a few months ago, Pearl City Place – once known as Bickford Cottage of Muscatine – has seen almost $500,000 in updates and renovations this year. And more renovation projects are in the works.

Those changes were celebrated Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 13, with a “big relaunch” of Pearl City during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. That event attracted more than 30 people from the business community, including members of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

“We’ve done a lot of facelift work to the inside (of Pearl City Place.) You can get a sense of what assisted living is like when it’s done right. … Today is a big relaunch,” said John Conroy, vice president of sales and marketing of Omega Senior Living, the property management firm that has partnered with Pearl City’s new owners – Senior Housing Consultants of Solon, Iowa. 

(The Iowa City area firm has more than 20 years of experience in the senior housing field and has provided various services to more than 75 newly developed or existing senior housing communities, according to the firm’s website.)

Mr. Conroy was one of the hosts of Wednesday’s ceremonies. He added that people who are visiting Pearl City for the first time would be amazed because it’s “not the nursing home of yesteryear.” 

It has many new and modern features, treatments and activities for residents. In fact, a wall-mounted calendar of events highlighted some of the monthly activities for residents. They included: chair yoga, walking club, teatime bingo, movies, balloon ball and much more.

Mr. Conroy added that high-quality assisted living/memory care facilities like Pearl City are needed now more than ever. That’s because many people need the services. He said that more than 6 million people in the U.S. currently need memory care services, and 200,000 Iowans need memory care help. Those numbers may drastically rise in the coming years as more people from the Baby Boomer generation need assisted living and memory care help.

“We want to provide people with great care with great dignity,” said Allison Law, executive vice president of Senior Housing Consultants.

Ms. Law and others said great care is being fostered by the updates and improvements made to Pearl City since Senior Housing took ownership this spring. Some of those improvements include:

  • Concrete work around the community (walkways, driveway, courtyard pathways).
  • Interior and exterior painting.
  • Extensive landscaping upgrades and improvements.
  • A new shuttle van for resident transportation and outings.
  • Upgrades to dining services.
  • New “call button” system.
  • Updated lighting throughout the community.

Much of that upgrade work has been done by Muscatine area companies, including: Sean’s Home Improvement, Restore Painting and Lemon Landscaping.

Upgrades in the planning stages include new features in the dining program such as salad bar additions; new carpeting and flooring throughout the building; and new furniture for the common areas.

Members of the local business community got a look at some of those upgrades on Wednesday. Heather Morrison, marketing director of Pearl City Place, gave tours of the facility after the ribbon-cutting. They included a look at common areas, such as the sunroom, exercise area, programs available for residents and apartment No. 138, which was set up as a model apartment for visitors to view 

Pearl City has 45 apartments. Seven are for residents who need memory care services. Fees for those apartments and services vary. Assisted living care and apartments start at about $4,000 a month, and the memory care fee is about $6,700 a month, according to information from Pearl City Place.

Pearl City has about 30 employees and is currently fully staffed, Mr. Morrison said.

Facility officials would not comment on the number of residents who are currently living at Pearl City. However, Ms. Morrison did say there are still a few apartments that are vacant and available, but they usually don’t stay vacant for very long.

The Pearl City Place employees and programs have one goal in mind – to provide the finest care possible for the residents, Mr. Conroy added.

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