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Merrill Gardens retirement facility to begin construction in 2015

Staff Report~ 11/12/2014

ANTHEM – Retirement facility Merrill Gardens at Anthem will be breaking ground next spring. The facility will be equipped to house over 100 residents and will offer several levels of care. Merrill Gardens at Anthem is slated to open in early 2016.

This will be the first retirement facility in Anthem. It’s also Merrill Gardens’ first Arizona facility; the company has retirement communities in Alabama, California, Nevada, and Washington.

“As a 21-year-old family company, we are committed to each community in which we operate and we are very excited to become part of the Anthem community in the coming months,” said Bill Pettit, President of the R.D. Merrill Company (parent company of Merrill Gardens).

Pettit described Merrill Gardens at Anthem as having “a wide range of lifestyle choices for residents, designed to meet their individual situation.”

“Our service program is based on need and is individualized to each resident,” Pettit continued. “There will be some residents who don’t need assisted living services and some who will need more help with the tasks of daily living.” Pettit noted that the facility will have a secure memory care program for patients who need 24-hour care.

Merrill Gardens will have numerous amenities for the residents. It’s designed with a community atmosphere, with residents occupying private apartments but sharing multiple activities.

“We have a restaurant-style dining room where residents enjoy our exclusive Anytime Dining program,” said Pettit. “We also have a very busy Active Living wellness program for residents and an activity calendar that is full of opportunities for socialization and fun!”

Merrill Gardens at Anthem will be located at West Meridian Road and West Rose Canyon Circle. The facility’s traffic impact has been discussed by local residents. 

“On the issue of additional traffic in the area, that was a question that was brought up often as a concern,” said Tim Fyke, Anthem Community Council president.

Fyke explained that, originally, a church or school was planned for the land, which “would have impacted traffic flows.”

“When Merrill Gardens reaches its peak size the traffic impact is still expected to be minimal,” Fyke said, noting that many of the residents will not be driving.

“On the weekend we assumed there would be a higher number of visitors to Merrill Gardens than during the weekday,” Fyke added. He anticipates that “there might be higher traffic flows than normal” before and after services at St. Rose.

“Of course had a school or another church been built on the site, the additional traffic flow could have been much heavier both during the week and the weekend,” Fyke noted.

Asked if the Council expected to need any additional stop lights or signage in the area, Fyke replied, “That really is a call for the county.”

Merrill Gardens planners don’t foresee heavier traffic, either.

“We do not expect that our community will noticeably impact traffic on Meridian or Daisy Mountain,” said Pettit. “Our project will include multiple entrances located on West Rose Canyon Circle, and there will be no direct access from our property to West Meridian Drive.”

Once construction begins, Merrill Gardens at Anthem is estimated to be built in 14 months. Starting in 2016, residents will be moving in.

“In the coming months our team will begin to meet with families and prospective residents and start that process,” Pettit said.

Once applications begin to be accepted, residents will be able to reserve particular apartments. Apartments will be available on a month-to-month basis, lowering upfront fees.

The Anthem Community Council expects a positive impact on the Anthem community from the inclusion of Merrill Gardens, including payment of dues and patronization of local businesses.

“It is our hope that new families will move to Anthem if they can have their parents or grandparents close by, with the same being said for our existing Anthem residents who have shown great interest in having a facility like Merrill Gardens for their relatives,” Fyke said. “Our community is about family first and places like Merrill Gardens provide another way of keeping the extended family closer together.”

See more about Merrill Gardens at www.MerrillGardens.com or Facebook, Merrill Gardens.