Until recently, the county-owned Bayshore Manor assisted-living facility on College Road housed up to 16 residents. The property is now vacant, as residents moved to the newer Poinciana Gardens facility in Key West. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

Nine Key West senior citizens recently moved from Bayshore Manor on College Road to the newer Poinciana Gardens on Duck Avenue in Key West, completing the consolidation of assisted-living facilities in the Lower Keys and potentially saving the county more than $1 million a year.

The aging Bayshore Manor could only accommodate up to 16 residents and had no commercial kitchen for hot meal preparation. Yet the county was spending $1.2 million a year to operate it, a figure that frustrated County Commissioner Craig Cates, who urged the county to move the Bayshore residents to Poinciana Gardens, put the $1.2 million savings toward the new Poinciana Gardens facility and use the vacant space at Bayshore Manor for county offices. Such an arrangement would save the county additional money, because it is now paying $250,000 a year to rent office space in Key West, Cates has said, calling the arrangement a “no brainer.”

County officials eventually agreed with him and enlisted financial support from the city of Key West to help fund Poinciana Gardens’ operation for up to three years.

“There’s also space available at Poinciana Gardens to have senior day care services and other activities that bring in additional revenue,” Cates said.

Poinciana Gardens assisted-living facility has 106 units that include independent living apartments and assisted-living services. All residents can receive three meals a day, housekeeping and laundry services. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

The Key West Housing Authority is currently in negotiations with a potential new manager of Poinciana Gardens, who has some ideas about those additional activities, Cates said. 

Housing Authority spokesman Peter Batty said she’s from out of town, is licensed and would be an excellent candidate if they can come to a salary and benefits agreement.

Cates added that the county staff is now considering what to do with the Bayshore property, although he had not yet heard the latest about those options.

“The transition went extremely smoothly,” said Batty. “It’s a win-win, as the county can now close Bayshore Manor.”

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.