Americare to build care facility in Pratt; El Dos De Oros plans a second restaurant.

Americare and El Dos De Oros are two entities working with city officials to bring change and opportunity to Pratt. Americare has purchased land on the north side of town to build a skilled nursing facility to replace Pratt Rehabilitation and Residence Center, and the owners of El Dos De Oros have plans to establish an additional restaurant where Kentucky Fried Chicken used to be at the corner of First and Main streets.

As far as planning goes with the new Americare facility, Pratt City Inspector, Brad Blankenship, said the details are still being worked out but progress is being made.

“Americare already has a facility over in Cunningham—Hilltop Manor—they actually own that one,” Blankenship said. “They have numerous ones in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma—it’s a family-owned business but they have lots of them, and they built a brand new one in Chanute.”

Blankenship said the hospital contacted Americare about opening this new facility so the Pratt Rehabiliation and Residence Center could be closed but Pratt Regional Medical Center will not have any part of ownership in the new facility.

“Right now, they are sole owners of Pratt Rehabilitation and Residence Center—they won’t have any monetary value in this one [Americare] at all, and they actually contacted them to come here because they wanted to close that [PRRC],” Blankenship said.

Though PRRC will be closing once Americare opens, Blankenship said the employees at PRRC would have the first opportunity to transition to the new facility in Pratt.

“It isn’t like they’re shutting it down with everybody losing their jobs, that’s not what it’s about,” Blankenship said. “All their people, they’re going to be able to—if they want to and if they qualify, they’re going to transfer over to there, and so, that’s completely up to Americare but they will have first shot at it.”

The new Americare facility will be created in a style that provides a more independent and comfortable living style for people needing assistance.

“You’re going to have bedrooms, you’re going to have front rooms, you’re going to have kitchens— and they will have different degrees of care,” Blankenship said. “The old buildings used to be more like institutions where you just had beds and there wasn’t any privacy. So, people are spending lots of money, and they want their money’s worth and so these companies are coming in now and they’re making them like apartment complexes so it’s like ‘you’re going home.’”

Another project gaining momentum but still in the planning phase is the addition of a second El Dos De Oros restaurant in Pratt.

“It’s kind of in the beginning stages of putting everything together to see if it’s feasible to do money-wise,” Blankenship said. “A lot of people like to be within 10 years of a pay out because when it gets out, it doesn’t pay out [immediately].”

The owners of El Dos De Oros, a Mexican restaurant, plan to keep their original location up and running at 722 S. Main Street while the new location—where Kentucky Fried Chicken used to be at the corner of First and Main streets—would mainly target drivers on the highway.

Construction has not really begun yet, but with the guidance of city officials, the owners have looked at plans to help conceptualize what the new El Dos De Oros location would look like.

The new El Dos De Oros, if finalized and finished, will include a drive-thru and a menu similar but slightly different from the original El Dos De Oros.

Anita Lopez, whose husband owns El Dos De Oros, explained some of the potential plans for the new location with translation help from Marlene Cardona, a long-time employee of El Dos De Oros.

“We’re still in the process right now—nothing is really final, but they want to open it and make another restaurant as well,” Cardona explained for Lopez. “It’s going to be a drive-thru and a dine- in.”

Lopez said that before she and her husband came to own and operate the restaurant, she worked in a field in Mexico for around 20 years growing grapes and watermelon among other produce. When she turned 20, they moved to America in pursuit of their goals.

Owning a restaurant is something the couple had wanted to do for a while, and now, if all goes according to their plan for the new building, they could be operating two.

“Basically right now, they’re just trying to put all their money together so we can construct it and work it all together,” Cardona said for Lopez. “It’s a lot of work to put in, so they [the owners] want to make sure they have all the money so we can get everything in it and do it all at once.”

Optimistic that they will save the money necessary to start construction on the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building to be able to accommodate the needs of the new restaurant, Lopez said that she and her husband are thankful for all the community support they have received throughout the years.

“The people from here have really helped her a lot and she is really thankful for the good people here in town,” Cardona translated for Lopez. “She really cares about all the people here and everyone here in the town has really helped her and helped the business to grow.”