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School board to consider hospital support

Josh Nichols

Despite recent setbacks in their timeline to build a new hospital in Craig, hospital officials are still seeking letters of support from different community agencies and boards.

At Thursday night’s Moffat County Board of Education meeting, The Memorial Hospital Administrator Randy Phelps, accompanied by hospital board and foundation members, approached the school board asking the school board for one of those letters.

After a short presentation on where the hospital is at in its planning, Phelps explained why the hospital needs letters of support.

“We need letters of support so we can go after grants and inform HUD that key groups in the community have been met with and that they support the hospital’s initiative,”

he said.

HUD is the federal Housing and Urban Development committee, which the hospital hopes will provide financial backing for the loan being sought for construction.

So far nine local agencies have written letters of support to the hospital.

School board member Steve Hafey asked how many groups have been approached for support, and asked how many have declined.

“If someone had turned you down, I would want to know why,” Hafey said.

Harriet Reed, hired by the hospital to conduct a fund-raising campaign for a new hospital, said the city council is the only group so far that has not yet written a letter after it was asked to do so.

At a city council meeting last month, the council chose not to write a letter due to an outcry from several residents in attendance at the meeting upset about the proposed building site.

City council members had told the hospital that because of the dissent expressed from the public, they were not comfortable in giving the hospital a letter at that time.

But since then, the hospital board has agreed to investigate other sites in the community, and has begun a request for proposal of land process.

In that process, the hospital has accepted proposals from residents for other potential building sites in the community, and the project manager hired by the hospital will investigate those potential sites.

Because of the board’s decision to investigate other sites, Phelps said he was confident the city council would now agree to offer a letter of support.

“After a public meeting, the mayor said he thought they could give us a letter of support now that we are looking at other sites,” Phelps said.

School board president Phil Hastings said he was unsure if this was a board of education concern.

“As a board of education, why should we get involved?” Hastings asked. “I’m not sure if that would be a function of the board of education.”

Phelps said the hospital needs to show HUD that it has community support, and the school system is an integral part of that community.

“We’re trying to show that there’s community support,” Phelps said. “Especially amongst community leaders and community members elected to office.”

Agencies need to work together for the better of the community, Phelps said.

“In a community of our size there are always relationships between different agencies working together to make this community the best that it can be,” Phelps said.

The presentation made by the hospital was done during the “Let’s Listen” session of the school board meeting, and the board had no discussion on the request.

Hastings said the board would address the issue next month.

“Naturally we won’t make a decision during this forum, but it will be on the agenda for the January meeting,” Hastings said.

Local agencies that have already signed letters of support for The Memorial Hospital include:

  • Moffat County commissioners.

Kennecott ColoWyo Coal.

  • Trapper Mining Co.
  • X-cel Energy.
  • Severson Supply.
  • Craig Chamber of Commerce.
  • TMH Auxiliary.
  • Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Colorado.
  • All three local banks.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.


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