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Albany County eyes Tobin site for nursing home

The former site of a meatpacking plant is the latest option being considered by the Albany County Legislature for the location of the county nursing home.

The site, once home to the Tobin Packing Co., is located on Exchange Street near Everett Road. It was shut down more than 20 years ago after the county purchased the property in a foreclosure sale.

According to Mary Witkowski, communications director for Albany County Executive Michael Breslin, the site would be a prime spot for the Albany County Nursing Home because of its location near many bus lines, and because it crosses the boundaries of two municipalities within the county.

It's just a good central location for the nursing home, and it's on the Albany and Colonie border, so it just makes it a good fit, she said.

The location of the new nursing home has been a topic of discussion in the County Legislature since the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century released its recommendations in 2006, in which many nursing homes throughout the state were asked to downsize to no more than 250 beds, the Albany County Nursing Home included.

When the Town of Colonie sold the portion of Heritage Park it owned back to the county last summer for $2.7 million, many residents began to get excited about the idea of moving the nursing home to Heritage Park.

"We really don't like the idea of it being in the city. For example there's a lot of people in their 70s and 80s who go visit their family members," said Renee Barchitta, of Colonie, whose mother is a resident at the nursing home. "For them to drive into the city, it's not as safe."

At the time, Breslin's office said the county would probably not choose the Heritage Park site for the nursing home because there was lack of adequate transportation routes for visitors and employees to and from that location.

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