On June 19, the last resident of the Bishop Soenneker Home moved out of the long-term care facility.

In late March, the Diocese of Owensboro unexpectedly announced it would close the Knottsville nursing home June 30. The facility housed 51 residents and employed 29. The Bishop Soenneker Home served residents more than half a century.

With all the residents gone and only three employees remaining, the facility will close the last day of this month, said the Most Rev. William F. Medley, bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro.

In March, Medley said the decision was not based on financial concerns "but rather because we felt that in the long run, the residents would benefit from the resources available at larger-scale personal care facilities."

Early on, the decision shocked and upset many of the residents' families and some community members, who protested outside the diocese's main office days after the announcement. A crowd lined sidewalks along Locust Street outside St. Stephen Cathedral and McRaith Catholic Center.

On Monday — six days before the home is set to close — Medley expressed appreciation to former residents and their families for their patience and perseverance.

"We recognize this was a hardship for everyone involved," he said. "Our primary goal from the beginning was to provide a safe and smooth transition for every single resident."

In addition, he thanked the home's employees and members of the Knottsville community, who provided a "peaceful, supportive environment over the years and throughout the closing of the home."

Many nursing homes in the region have waiting lists. However, placement of the Bishop Soenneker Home residents went well, Medley said.

Staff, ombudsmen and others worked in unison on finding housing options. Families, however, made the final decisions. The majority of Bishop Soenneker Home residents chose to relocate locally, he said.

Of the 29 employees who worked at the home, two secured positions with the diocese, said Mary Hall, human resources director.

"We've heard from several other former employees who have found local employment," Hall said.

The diocese provided severance packages and other accommodations to the home's employees. Anyone enrolled in the diocese's health insurance plan received three months of coverage beyond the month their employment ended. The diocese paid the premiums for the extended coverage.

At this time, there are no immediate plans for the building or the lot, diocesan officials said.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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