It’s a go for hospital land



February 23, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Hospital trustees were left with a “cordial feeling” after meeting with two property owners Tuesday night in discussions for acquiring land for a new Allen County Hospital.
The discussions were held in executive session, which precludes disclosure of the parties involved or the particulars of the conversations.
The upshot, however, was that trustees feel confident to pursue purchase of the 10 parcels of land that will provide for a 17-acre campus for the hospital and future buildings.
“We continue to encourage property owners to accept the appraised values offered,” said Harry Lee, board chairman. “Our intent is to acquire the property and continue with as much harmony as possible.”
For some, existing structures on the parcels are sticking points. Lee said trustees are willing to make “some non-monetary adjustments” in those cases to free up the land.
“We’re pleased with the progress,” of Tuesday night’s trustees meeting, Lee said. Trustees have yet to hear back — either formally or informally — from two of the property owners.
Trustees agreed to extend the offers on appraisals until next Tuesday. “Without taking too much extra time, we hope to hear from those who still haven’t decided,” said Patti Boyd, a hospital trustee.
For those who do not agree to sell, they will face an action by the county called eminent domain by which the land can be claimed for the good of the public. If that occurs, new appraisals are sought and then if no agreement can be reached, a jury decides on the value of the land and either the county or the land owner accepts the difference of that decision and the appraisal.
The appraisals for the land averaged $35,600 an acre. That price is slightly higher than the appraisals for The Family Physicians to the east and Citizens Bank to the west of the desired parcels. The price tag takes the land “as is,” despite the probable soil contamination on the lots that border East Street that years ago were the sites of smelters. Three of those parcels will require soil remediation. The fourth, owned by The Family Physicians, has already been cleaned of contaminants. The lots to the north of Monroe Street are thought to be “cleaner,” said Alan Weber, Allen County counselor who is serving temporarily as legal counsel to hospital trustees.
Both the architects of Health Facilities Group and those with the construction management group, Murray Construction, advised trustees that purchasing all of the 10 parcels of land, rather than just those on either side of Monroe Street, would be preferable and “give the most flexibility” for the future.
“That’s been one of the problems with the current hospital; we’re locked in,” said trustee Debbie Roe.

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