SEA LEVEL — The owners and management of Snug Harbor on Nelson Bay announced this week the facility will be closing its doors Saturday, Dec. 21.
The facility announced on social media and by news release Wednesday that due to recent financial difficulties, the assisted living and retirement facility will close by the end of this year.
“Significant damage to the facility by Hurricane Florence in 2018 and again by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 resulted in a huge financial strain on the facility,” the press release and Facebook post read. “The delay in insurance reimbursement for damage repair also made it impossible for the facility to comply with the State of North Carolina’s Division of Health & Human Service, Life Safety Division regulations for operating a skilled health care facility.
“In addition, the overall costs to operate the facility, to employ and retain qualified staff, along with the current change to the healthcare reimbursement made the facility financially unsustainable. This was a difficult decision by both the ownership and management and closing was the only option,” the announcement continues.
The News-Times reached out multiple times to staff at Snug Harbor for comment but did not hear back by presstime.
The press release states the facility plans to close by Dec. 21, affecting more than 150 residents and employees. The facility is a major employer Down East with 77 full and part-time employees. There are also 76 residents at the facility, which offers individualized levels of care.
The company said it is planning resource meetings for displaced residents and will have resources for staff to find other employment. A post on Snug Harbor’s Facebook page Thursday states residents and their families can attend one of a series of upcoming meetings to learn about other skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Carteret and surrounding counties.
According to Snug Harbor, representatives from those facilities will be in Randall Hall at Snug Harbor Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to hand out information and answer questions about their facilities. Representatives were also on site Thursday.
Although Snug Harbor opened Down East in the late 1970s, its history stretches back to the 1800s in another state. The original facility, known as Sailors’ Snug Harbor, opened in 1833 on Staten Island, N.Y., as the country’s first-ever home exclusively for retired mariners and merchant marines.
Susan Kirkpatrick, of West Palm Beach, Fla., is the daughter of one of the men who helped bring the facility to Sea Level. She said the owners at the time were looking to move because of the increasing expenses of operating in New York, and they were thinking of coming somewhere in the South.
Her father, Daniel E. Taylor, owned land Down East and was friends with one of the people tasked with finding a new location for the retirement home.
Ms. Kirkpatrick said her father struck the owners a deal because he wanted something built on his land, so he offered Sailors’ Snug Harbor 35 acres for the facility itself, plus about 50 additional acres of wild marshland, for $50,000. Once the operation was in place, he would pay them the money back.
The facility broke ground in 1973, just a few weeks after Mr. Taylor died. It was completed in 1976 when it began welcoming its first residents, many of whom transferred from New York.
The retirement facility later expanded to welcome people of all backgrounds, not just retired sailors. According to Snug Harbor, it offered nursing long-term care, short-term rehab, assisted living, AL memory care and independent living.
“It’s such a shame to hear it’s closing,” Ms. Kirkpatrick said Thursday.
Contact Elise Clouser at email@example.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.