When Safeway closed its doors in October 2013, the city, its residents and local economic development officials hoped the building would turn into something more than another vacant eyesore.
Two years later, Yampa Valley Medical Center purchased the building and the parking lot for $704,100, according to the Moffat County Assessors Office. YVMC originally planned to open a medical clinic, ramping up its competition with The Memorial Hospital in Craig.
Fast forward to 2017, and YVMC has yet to tell the public when and if it still plans to renovate the 49,500 square foot building that remains sitting empty. The parking lot is riddled with potholes and filled with snow.
“It’s terrible. I’d like them to make a commitment one way or another to Craig,” said Craig City Councilman John Ponikvar, noting that YVMC needs to let the community know what it’s doing. “If not, let us see if we can move forward with something else."
YVMC has provided no updates to the community about if or when it might start the renovation process, saying only that it’s working on a “Master Facility Plan” — a process that cannot be rushed and has no deadline. To date, the only work that's been done on the building is asbestos work, but it's not clear if YVMC had to remove asbestos. They've only confirmed that it's been certified asbestos-free.
In regards to maintaining the parking lot, YVMC said in an email, “Yampa Valley Medical Center is responsible for the maintenance of the property. We work with local contractors for tasks such as snow removal. Yampa Valley Medical Center takes requests for use of the parking lot and has worked with community non-profits to accommodate.”
However, the large amounts of snowfall in Craig so far this winter have piled up in the parking lot and large potholes at the entrance of the lot remain visible. The lot is one of several entryways into Centennial Mall and helps costumers access several other businesses within that block.
City officials feel YVMC has not done its due diligence in maintaining the space.
“As far as the outside facilities themselves, they really do need to be taking better care of it,” said Craig City Councilman Joe Bird. “Honestly, I haven’t heard anything come to council about what their plans are.”
Bird said YVMC has not contacted the city’s planning and zoning department or reached out to council about the project since the medical center bought the building.
The city manager also is concerned.
“My goal is to set up a meeting with them and find out what their plan is, make sure they keep it on a maintenance schedule and make sure it’s a safe area for all our citizens to travel around,” said Craig City Manager Mike Foreman.
YVMC has been busy with several projects in its home community of Steamboat Springs, which may or may not have set back their plans for Craig.
“A great deal of time and attention has been required to complete our three latest service locations in the Outpatient Pavilion on the main YVMC campus (in Steamboat). YampaCare For Women, the Gloria Gossard Breast Health Center and the Jan Bishop Cancer Center have opened within the last year,” YVMC Chief Operating Officer Soniya Fidler said in an email.
Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.