Nursing and Skilled Nursing Facility Proposal

[Update 11-16-2023]

On November 14, we learned from Sandy River Company that financial pressures, including sizeable increases in construction costs ($10+ million more than anticipated), high interest rates and up-front funds needed for lender approval have made it impossible for this project to move forward as originally planned.

While we, Sandy River Company and North Country Associates are disappointed, all parties recognize the importance of assuring high-quality senior living services are available in Lincoln County for years to come. We will be looking at all potential options for a viable solution.

At this point in time, however, there is no certainty as to what is achievable. Despite unfavorable rates from government payors and multi-million-dollar revenue losses expected, we will continue to provide these services to our communities in Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta, while next steps are developed, evaluated and finalized.

Below are answers to anticipated questions. We welcome any questions and will be sure to keep you up to date as we progress.


On Wednesday, November 14, Sandy River Company shared that it will no longer pursue building a new nursing care, skilled rehabilitation and assisted living facility as planned on Piper Mill Road in Damariscotta due to a multitude of concerns. These include massive hikes in interest rates, the lack of multiple lenders being interested in the project, the need for more up-front funding to secure a loan, skyrocketing construction costs, staffing concerns and the challenge to meet the state requirement that the project would not increase the state’s cost, known as cost neutrality.

Here are some answers to questions we anticipate we will receive. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please send them to, and we will be sure to add our responses to this document.

Does this decision mean that services will remain in Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta permanently?

As we have learned over the last several years, sustainability of long-term care depends on creating more efficiencies when providing care, assuring adequate staffing and hopefully in the future, additional funding from government payors. While we cannot commit to providing these services permanently in two separate communities, we will do so until a new direction is established.

Why not just keep things the way they are now?

LincolnHealth is not immune to the financial pressures that have caused other facilities to close or partner with outside agencies to build and run new facilities. LincolnHealth can no longer afford to lose between $2.5 and $6 million a year for nursing and skilled nursing care while still providing exceptional medical care to our patients and bringing needed services and technologies to Lincoln County.

Will anything change regarding current senior living services or patient services offered in Boothbay and Damariscotta?

No. Our teams will continue to provide residents and patients the services currently offered.

What are the next steps in ensuring these services are available in Lincoln County?

In the short-term, we will be evaluating some options with Sandy River Company and North Country Associates including renovating and expanding Cove’s Edge and reducing the size and cost of building a new facility on Piper Mill Road. In the longer term, we will engage with our colleagues at MaineHealth and others to identify additional experts who may provide data and insight that may lead to new strategies and viable options.

Is LincolnHealth financially responsible for the land purchase on Piper Mill Road?


[Update 9-29-2023]

On Monday, September 11, Sandy River Associates appeared before the Damariscotta planning board to ask for an extension for the project, which was approved. The extra time is needed to finalize submission of a financial proforma and the state-required Certificate of Need (CON). Part of the delay is around the rising cost of the project, as precise estimates have to be submitted in the CON, and the continued low reimbursement for the care provided.

The other item brought before the planning board was a modification of services offered at Clippership Landing, which was also granted. In order to make the project economically viable, two of the three neighborhoods in the facility will provide traditional nursing care and the third will be for Assisted Living Memory Care.

The change in bed mix at Clippership will not have an impact on our plans to keep Assisted Living and Memory Care on the St Andrews Village and Damariscotta campuses.

Once the CON is submitted, a new timetable for construction will be created. As I have shared before, it typically takes at least 18 months from beginning to end to build a nursing facility.

[…there are rumors] in the Boothbay Region about the Urgent Care Center being slated for closure. The services the team provides there are much-needed on the peninsula and are staying put.

[Update 2-11-2023]

Cove’s Edge, Zimmerli Pavilion and Gregory Wing to transition to new facility in 2025.

[Update 1-4-2023]

After months of presentations and information-sharing, the Damariscotta Planning Board voted unanimously to approve the construction of Clippership Landing, a 102-bed nursing and skilled nursing care facility on Piper Mill Road.

Nursing care residents at Cove’s Edge on the Damariscotta campus of LincolnHealth and at the Gregory Wing and Zimmerli Pavilion in Boothbay Harbor will transition to the new facility once it is constructed.

Along with being a beautiful, brand-new facility with private rooms, Clippership Landing will ensure the availability of nursing and skilled nursing care in Lincoln County for many years to come. Family members who live in the area won’t have to drive an hour or more to visit their loved ones.

There are still several steps required before construction can begin. The developer, Sandy River Company, must meet several conditions of approval. In addition, the state’s Division of Licensing and Certification must issue a ‘Certificate of Need’ that’s designed to assure the project is necessary in the community and that it is not going to cost the state additional money to support services. In addition, the Department of Environmental Protection must approve the site.

While there is no defined timetable, it is anticipated that Clippership Landing will take 16-18 months to complete once construction begins.

We will provide updates as the project moves forward.

[Update 12-5-2022]

The Damariscotta Planning Board officially closed the public hearing on the proposal to build Clippership Landing, a new nursing and skilled rehabilitation facility on Piper Mill Road in Damariscotta. If approved, the project will consolidate nursing and skilled care currently provided at Cove’s Edge in Damariscotta and the Zimmerli Pavilion and Gregory Wing in Boothbay Harbor at the newly built 102-bed facility.

The planners heard many of the similar concerns of residents who live near the proposed site, many of which have been vocalized in the past. Traffic concerns, landscaping buffers, protection of wetlands, lighting and whether the new facility met the ‘spirit’ of the town’s comprehensive plan were shared by those who live near the proposed facility location.

Sandy River Corporation, the developer of Clippership Landing, presented detailed information, including a detailed traffic study and landscaping plan that addressed questions from the November meeting.

The Planning Board now has 30 days to vote on the project. While nothing is final, the developers will likely have to meet several conditions to move the project forward.

The meeting was recorded and will be available shortly at You can expect additional coverage in this week’s Lincoln County News. These links will be posted to our archive here.

The decision will be made at the next Planning Board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, January 3, at 6 p.m. at the Damariscotta Town Office.

[Update 11-8-2022]

On November 7th, the Damariscotta Planning Board convened a site review and public meeting to discuss the plan for a new nursing and skilled rehabilitation facility in Damariscotta. Planners and residents of streets that abut the proposed site on Pipers Mill Road had many questions about the project’s impact on the community.

Most of the questions fell into a handful of categories:

  • Traffic – Residents in the School Street area are worried about traffic patterns while the new facility is built and once it’s online. They stressed it is a busy area, where children wait for the bus and ride their bikes. The intersection of School and Main Streets is also considered a high-accident area.

A consultant who provided a traffic study with the plan submitted by Sandy River presented his findings and recommendations, including improved sight lines, a 25 miles per hour speed limit and better signage denoting steep curves on the roads.

  • Neighborhood impact – Neighbors wanted more information on how the neighborhood, existing wildlife and privacy will be impacted by the facility. They also wanted more information on landscaping and buffering plans.

Neighbors and planners want to see more renderings of what the facility will look like from the neighborhoods that exist in the area today.

  • Buffering/Noise – Members of the nearby gun club as well as other neighbors wanted to be sure that there were enough sound barriers and buffers to keep noise levels under control. The Gun Club representatives want to minimize the possibility of any complaints from those occupying the new facility once approved.

The meeting ended with a list of questions being collected, with a promise of those questions being answered at the next planning board meeting.

The meeting was televised live and is available on demand at You can expect additional coverage in this week’s Lincoln County News this week.

After some debate, planners approved dividing the existing property proposed for the nursing facility into a two-parcel subdivision. Clippership Landing will be built on one parcel, while uses for the other lot have yet to be determined.

We will let you know when the project will return to the planning board next.

[Update 8-24-2022]

LincolnHealth began researching how best to sustain nursing and skilled care in 2017 due to annual financial losses in the millions. In June 2021, the Board of LincolnHealth approved a feasibility study to be done by Sandy River Company, who specializes in nursing and skilled nursing care development.

During the study period, LincolnHealth leadership held numerous meetings with its nursing and skilled care team members, residents, community groups and individuals to discuss the reason for the study and the need for changes in how care is delivered in Lincoln County in order to sustain services.

The possible locations for a new facility revealed many limitations. It was determined that Damariscotta offered the best opportunity, with some parcels of land offering ample acreage, along with access to water, sewer and electricity.

On August 1, the Damariscotta Planning Board heard a proposal to build a new 102-bed nursing and skilled nursing facility on Piper Mill Road in Damariscotta. If approved, residents of Cove’s Edge Nursing and Skilled Rehabilitation in Damariscotta and well as those at the Gregory Wing and the Zimmerli Pavilion at St. Andrews Village in Boothbay Harbor, would move into the new facility.

The facility, named Clippership Landing, would be built by Sandy River Company and operated by North Country Associates. LincolnHealth would appoint a Medical Director to oversee clinical services.

A timeline of all media interactions and conversations, along with the articles and videos, can be found here.

Below are frequently asked questions and answers regarding this proposal. These will be updated as new information becomes available.  

How long has the project been in discussion?

LincolnHealth’s official communications about entering into a study period to determine the feasibility of building a new nursing home in Damariscotta began in May 2021.

LincolnHealth had previously spoken with Sandy River Company and several other firms in previous years to learn more about how to sustain senior living services. Those conversations began in 2017.

A formal agreement to study the project’s feasibility was signed by the LincolnHealth board in June 2021.

Why is a new building necessary?

LincolnHealth can no longer afford to lose between $2.5 and $6 million a year for nursing and skilled nursing care while still providing exceptional medical care to our patients and bringing needed services and technologies to Lincoln County.

The only way to assure Lincoln County residents have nursing care for years to come is by working with the experts whose only business is nursing care.

Why now?

Nursing homes in Maine are closing at a record pace due to staffing, aging facilities requiring significant financial investment to repair and maintain and burdensome regulations. The lack of reimbursement for services is a factor as well.

Who is Sandy River Company?

Sandy River Company is a highly respected, for-profit Maine-based senior care development firm which MaineHealth has worked with on several nursing care projects. It has designed many senior living facilities. You can learn more at

Why North Country Associates?

North Country Associates has successful operated more than 25 senior living facilities in Maine in Massachusetts and is the state’s leading provider. You can learn more at

Why not expand at St. Andrews Village or build in Boothbay Harbor?

Before entering into this project, we evaluated other places to build as well as adding on to existing facilities or campuses.

There were no sites identified in other communities that had access to necessities like water, sewer and power. Building on top of existing facilities was not possible, and there was not enough land at any of our sites to build a new facility.

Why can’t St. Andrews nursing and skilled care operate apart from the new facility?

Nursing home operators and developers make their models work through economies of scale and right-sizing facility size. The ‘sweet spot’ for success is between 92-105 residents. That is primarily the reason so many smaller nursing care facilities have closed recently.

Does this move mean LincolnHealth plans to continue moving out of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor? Are the Urgent Care Center, the St. Andrews campus and the Family Care Center closing too?


What services might come to St. Andrews Village based on the space created by this project?

We are evaluating many options, including expansion of memory care, which is a much-needed service. LincolnHealth will utilize available space to meet identified community needs.

Will current employees in the Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta facilities be offered jobs at the new site?

Yes. All employees who are “in good standing” will have the opportunity to continue employment with the new service provider.