New Lantern to shine for seniors in Hardin Valley

By Ken Leinart

The Lantern at Morning Pointe made a significant investment in Knox County’s Hardin Valley community some two years ago.

Wednesday, Nov. 15, they solidified that commitment with the groundbreaking for a 60-unit complex adjacent to its current assisted living/Alzheimer’s care facility in Hardin Valley on Reagan Road.

“It almost seems like Groundhog Day. We were here not too long ago when we opened the building adjacent to this site here and prior to that we had a groundbreaking (for that site),” Greg Vital, president of Morning Pointe Senior Living said.

There are investments usually driven by economics. By revenue. By taxes gained for a county.

To an extent, that’s true.

The new Lantern at Morning Pointe of Hardin Valley will create approximately 60 permanent healthcare positions and is estimated to have an economic impact of more than $25 million annually, considering payroll, property taxes and local purchase of goods and services.

Those numbers are provided by the Lantern at Morning Pointe’s official website.

But there are other investments — not driven by economics, but driven by something higher.

“Most of the time I get up and talk about the economic value of a project like this,” Senior Vice President of Investor Development of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce Mark Field said.

“I talk about the amount of capital investment that’s made, talk about the amount of people who are going to be employed gainfully in our community.”

But Field said, “They (Morning Pointe) don’t just care about the economics in our community. They care about the quality of life in our community.”

He added that businesses and industries looking to locate in Knox County also look at “quality of life.”

Facilities such as the Hardin Valley campus show a commitment to the quality of life in Knox County, he said.

County Commissioner Kim Frazier said she holds a personal connection with the new facility.

She said she is the daughter and granddaughter of “loved ones experiencing memory loss,” and she is “so grateful for the team at Morning Pointe.”

For many, like Frazier, the commitment from Morning Pointe and its new facility, offer hope and a sense of “self and belonging,” because the residents of Morning Pointe’s facilities, “had a life, they had a career, and they had a dream.”

The new facility will be dedicated to the care of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Vital said Morning Pointe’s success with memory care was in large part due to the support of Alzheimer’s Tennessee, who had a spokesperson at the groundbreaking.

Vital said when the 60-unit facility is open, those currently residing in the Morning Pointe facility at Hardin Valley will be moved to the new memory facility.

The new facility will solely serve Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. The current facility at the Hardin Valley campus will be for assisted living seniors.

The Chattanooga-based senior health care company develops, owns, and manages 38 assisted living and “Lantern” Alzheimer’s memory care facilities in five states.

“Chattanooga is our ‘Home,’’ Vital said. “But our real ‘Home’ is with the states we serve.’

Those states include Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and Indiana.

The Hardin Valley campus is the 10th community in East Tennessee and the 24th Morning Pointe home in the state.