City, hospital to discuss Russell Street future |

City, hospital to discuss Russell Street future

Josh Nichols

Hospital officials and board members are moving forward with plans to construct a new hospital just north of where the current hospital sits and hope to break ground by mid-summer of 2003.

A preliminary plan shows the new hospital sitting where Russell Street runs between Seventh Street and Eighth Street.

The Memorial Hospital Administrator Randy Phelps said when funding has been guaranteed from the Federal Housing and Urban Development committee, TMH officials will ask the city of Craig to vacate the one block of Russell Street.

A project manager already has been hired, necessary property has been purchased and officials hope to select an architect by the end of this month.

But Phelps said hospital officials want to make sure funding is in place before they pursue the acquisition of Russell Street.

“We want to have the funding lined up,” Phelps said. “That’s the key. We don’t want to ask the city to vacate Russell Street until we have the funding.”

Phelps said the hospital expects to hear back from Housing and Urban Development sometime in May.

The hospital should have an indication of whether it is going to receive the loan sometime in April, Phelps said, at which time TMH will approach the city council about vacating the block.

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said state law says that a street can be vacated by the city council passing an ordinance.

When the request is made, Ferree said, it would go to the planning commission for review, who would then make a recommendation to the city council.

The city council would then consider the request.

But before any of that happens, Ferree said the city would likely ask for a report from the project manager about how vacating the one block would impact utilities in the area.

“You’re not just talking about evacuating a street,” Ferree said. “We would ask their engineers for plans and evaluate how drainage and traffic issues would be impacted.”

Ferree said an initial conversation was held a year ago between the city and hospital about vacating the street, but nothing has been discussed recently.

Phelps said hospital officials plan to come before the city to present its plans within the next month.

As for the possibility of Russell Street not being vacated, Phelps said, “That’s a scenario we’re not even thinking about.”

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