ProMedica moves forward with health service plans for Morenci 5.28.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

ProMedica Health Systems will move forward with plans to move its Morenci services into the Charles Fay Manor building.

ProMedica awaits word from the Morenci city council stating its preference for the former hospital building.

After ProMedica abandons the building, the structure will likely be donated to the city or else the building will be demolished and the land donated to the city.

Board support for the donation has been discussed, said ProMedica senior vice-president for continuing care Lori Johnston, but final approval is still needed.

Johnston said the company will move ahead with a survey of the land and a Phase I environmental scan.

“We’re working on preliminary plans for moving the senior center and Dr. Gray’s office,” she said. “We haven’t figured out all the logistics, but [Dr. Gray’s office] is very supportive. They really struggle with accessibility issues.”

Johnston said the board is quite certain of its position on the hospital building.

“We’ve come to the point where we know we need to move,” she said.  “It doesn’t make sense to invest money in that building.”

“Everything is very preliminary, but we would like to complete the move by the end of the year.”

Johnston acknowledged that the Fay Manor looks like a real mess after a water leak over the winter, but it can probably be refurbished in about 60 days.

The kitchen needs to be enlarged, she said, and partitioning of some areas is needed.

Old hospital

If the city doesn’t have an interest in using or leasing the hospital building, ProMedica would have the structure demolished and donate approximately five acres of land to the city.

The donation would come with some restrictions, Johnston said. ProMedica would not want anything that would compete with its existing services. The board would want to examine suggested services before allowing them.

A nursing home would be acceptable, she said, but radiology might not because in the future, physicians might offer that service in their offices.

Council member Tracy Schell asked if there was a time constraint on when the city would need to decide whether or not to accept the hospital building.

Once ProMedica has moved out, they won’t want to continue maintaining it, Johnston said.

Schell asked if ProMedica would consider giving the city cash totaling the expected cost of demolition ($200,000). That would give the city additional time to attempt a lease.

Johnston said she would have to check with the board. She noted that liability for the building and the cost of maintaining it would go to the city if that approach were taken.

Council member Keith Pennington asked for clarification on the term “green space.” Any environmental issues would be taken care of, Johnston said, and the land would be graded and seeded. Details would be more specific in a contract.

The city attorney will study the final paperwork before council makes a decision, Pennington said.

ProMedica will continue with its plans, Johnston said, but needs direction from the city.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said she’s heard a suggestion to turn the building into a fitness center and another to create apartments. Neither was a proposal with any money behind the suggestion, but only ideas.

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