Star News — Ground has been broken on a $4.5 million, 24-bed memory care facility in western Elk River that is set to open next spring.
The BeeHive Homes of Excelsior is similar to how the one in Elk River will look.
Marilyn Van Patten and her husband, Denny Chuba, are the key players behind the project, called BeeHive Homes of Elk River.
It will be built near the corner of Highway 10 and Waco Street.
The parcel was initially slated for a townhome development. When that fell through, Van Patten tried to sell the land but no buyer surfaced.
She also raised a family and has four children, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Now 79, she said, “I just have a lot of energy.”
Three years ago she enrolled at St. Cloud State University, where she has studied gerontology, sociology, dementia and housing.
Two years ago, Van Patten became a personal care attendant and works two days a week caring for a man with a form of dementia.
“It’s been such a wonderful experience,” she said.
She also worked with people experiencing memory issues while interning at Skylight Gardens in St. Cloud and had a close friend who had dementia.