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2012.09.19 I can’t go home again- why not buy hospital?

on . Posted in Nowhere Road

By RICH FOLEY

Unlike some people who go back to visit the home where they grew up, even buying it and moving back into their old room in a few cases, that option isn’t available to me. But now I’ve got a chance to do something even cooler, if I can just convince an investor as to the soundness of my business plan.

The home where I lived from birth until 1983 was torn down several years ago, leaving only three apartments before my current one to feel nostalgic for. And I can’t say I have any desire to move back to any of them. But the idea of becoming the owner of the hospital where I was born seems almost like an offer I can’t refuse, although many others have.

I recently noticed that the Addison Community Hospital was on the list of tax-delinquent properties being offered for auction by the Lenawee County Treasurer. Minimum bid is $129,646 for the entire complex, making it the most expensive property on the list. But it’s hard to put a price on family history.

All three of my siblings were born there, and during the waning days of the Eisenhower administration, I made it four. All of us were delivered by Dr. Bowers Growt, a local legend whose deliveries had to number well into the thousands. Heck, he was there so long, it might have been tens of thousands. I’m sure that delivering me would have to rank as one of his lesser achievements.

Later, both of my parents died there, in 1979 and 1982, respectively, making it 30 years since I’ve been inside, although I drive by the property fairly often. It closed as a regular hospital back in the early 1990s if I remember correctly, then housed a clinic specializing in bariatric surgery for a while before closing for good ten years ago, give or take.

Second highest starting bid in the auction is for a home right across U.S. 127 from the hospital. That would be pretty convenient, but if I buy the hospital, why not live there? That’s just one of the ideas I’ve been thinking about.

My 1972 Plymouth Duster and later, my 1979 Ford Mustang, spent a lot of time in the visitors parking lot during my parents illnesses. As owner of the property, my first order of business will be to commandeer Dr. Growt’s old parking space for my Buick. If he was still with us, I’d let him keep it.

Next would be to figure out if there’s any financially feasible way of reopening as a hospital. Not only would it be good for the area, I have another motive at work.

Do you think I could talk President Obama into dropping the requirement that I purchase health insurance if I owned my own hospital? The idea makes sense to me. Of course, if he loses in November, I won’t have to worry about it.

Instead, I could call President-elect Romney and see if he’d like to become an investor in my other idea. Instead of buying state-of-the-art hospital equipment and paying for the finest doctors, why not outfit the building with slightly older, but much more affordable equipment and rent out the facility for movies and television productions?

Every television season seems to have at least one new medical series with this fall being no exception. Having an unused hospital ready for a television or movie producer to take over seems like a winner. 

Plus, since Addison is out in the country, other costs should be much lower than if production were in Hollywood, not to mention a ready supply of out-of-work residents who would probably be thrilled to work for union scale wages.

There’s always the chance that Hollywood might pass on this idea, so I have two more back-up plans ready, just in case the others don’t work. First, the Addison Mini-Mall. Or, Hospital Apartments.  There has to be at least one idea some investor would like.

Unfortunately, the Lenawee County Treasurer’s auction is coming up fast and I don’t know if I can get all my plans put together in time to round up investors and make a bid. The auction will be held on Tuesday, September 18, a few days after I’m writing this, but the day before most of you will read it, or ignore it as the case may be.

If I do manage to pull this off and buy the hospital, you’ll be able to tell by the inevitable headline in the newspaper: “Crackpot columnist buys Addison Hospital; becomes first patient in newly opened psychiatric ward.”

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