A ‘community perspective’ | CraigDailyPress.com

A ‘community perspective’

Human services partnership looking for public input on old hospital building

Nicole Inglis

Nearly six months after The Memorial Hospital moved out of its old facility at 745 Russell St., the future of the old building remains under discussion.

The Moffat County Human Services Partnership, a group of representatives from 12 local nonprofits interested in finding the best use for the old hospital building, is now looking for public input on the future of the county-owned Russell Street building.

An online survey is available to gauge community interest in use of the facility by local nonprofit organizations.

A five-question online survey is available at http://surveymonkey.com/s/R6QM6YL.

Partnership director Mary Brown said public involvement in the process is vital to finding the best and most-needed use for the location.

"It's important we get some community perspective on what they believe their public hospital should do," Brown said. " It's a significant block, right in the middle of Craig. If the entire community were clamoring for it to be torn down and have condos built, well, that wouldn't bode well for getting financing to renovate it."

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Currently, the TMH Medical Clinic and several TMH specialists utilize space in the building.

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, which leases the south end of the building, also is part of the partnership.

"I think I can fairly say that the VNA would like to own their portion of that building and that a couple other not-for-profits are interested in being co-located in that space," Brown said, citing agencies such as the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition and Northwest Colorado

Mental Health.

A year ago, the partnership received an $85,000 grant from the state Office of Rural Health to examine the possibilities for the Russell Street building.

Brown said the idea was to first evaluate interest among local nonprofits in the community to occupy the building in some capacity.

The second step was to evaluate the condition of the building and determine what the space is suitable for.

That phase was completed in mid-March when two engineering firms — one structural and one mechanical — submitted a completed evaluation of the building.

"They basically said that the hospital did a great job of maintaining aging equipment and that in its current state and configuration, it's all usable," Brown said. "They said it'd be well-served to update mechanics of the building, but that the building is structurally fine."

The next few steps will be time-consuming, Brown said.

"Well, clearly there will be some need for financing of some kind," she said. "At a minimum it would mean applying for grant funds, for which community support is a compelling issue."

The future of nonprofits in the Russell Street campus is also dependent on the ability of TMH clinic and specialists to find a new space — or build one — which could be years away, Brown said.

"It is very, very conceptual," she said. " No one is signing on a dotted line. The partnership remains interested in exploring possibilities."

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