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Planner hopes to attract all ages

An assisted living facility and a park have been added to New River Township plans.

The growing community of New River Township took another step Monday when the developer announced plans to add an 80-unit assisted living facility and a 120-acre park to the 1,800-acre project along State Road 54.

Developer Beat Kahli last year announced plans for a $1.5-million day care inside the subdivision to attract young families to the 4,800-unit development _ which includes single-family homes and 960 apartments and assisted living quarters.

On Monday he announced plans for an assisted living center for seniors who still want to maintain their independence, but need help getting around from time to time.

The community development, which the Swiss-born Kahli says borrows from small European communities, aims to attract a mixed demographic.

"This should be a real city, or little town at least," Kahli said. "If you want to create a town, you want one where you can live and work and play. You want to have elderly people as well as families, a place where you can spend your life."

The first phase sprouted along State Road 54 last year. Of the 145 homesites offered, about 95 have been sold and several already are occupied. The second phase is scheduled to begin this year, with 230 additional homesites on the market.

Construction on the assisted living complex could start by next spring, he said. Other phases will be added over the next 10 years.

During the next year, Kahli said he intends to work with Pasco County to develop a plan for a 120-acre community park. The township would pay startup costs, but Kahli said his company is also looking to include Pasco County and area non-profit groups such as the Boys & Girls Club or the YMCA in developing programs.

Kahli said the idea for a community park was more attractive to his designers than the usual golf course because the area already has golf courses.

A park, he said, would fit more into the township's plan of offering something for everyone.

Plans for the township and its potential 15,000 residents call for a city center of restaurants, shops and offices, and land has been set aside for an elementary school, should the county decide one is needed there.

"I'm committed to make a town out of it," Kahli said. "That's my goal."