by Steve Peterson
At their Nov. 27 meeting, Hawarden councilors voted unanimously to approve a loan to support the Hawarden Regional Healthcare (HRH) expansion project in the amount of $10.8 million.
Some residents spoke in favor of HRH’s plan.
“I was on the Hospital Board of Trustees from 1974 to 1990, and we talked about the same issues of an aging facility then, said Hawarden resident Arvin Kitchenmaster, a former Hawarden Community Hospital Board member and current hospital foundation member. “It’s a wonderful comfort knowing that there is a hospital in town if you have a medical emergency at 2 a.m., that they can take care of you or refer you. We have to do everything that we can to keep our hospital. There is no secret to the age and deterioration of parts of the hospital and needs attention because the state or someone mandated that something needed to be done.”
“The cost is staggering to people but I encourage citizens to ask questions of the hospital administrator,” he said. “As I understand it, this will not effect property taxes. The city council and hospital administrator have been working well together. The hospital is a huge business in town, employing 60 people. We need to take care of it. I encourage full support of this project from everyone in the community.”
“We love the hospital,” said resident Lois Jean Dawson. “We’re so happy to have it here. The staff is so friendly. All the things that are going to happen inside the hospital are wonderful. People around the area need this hospital. I hope that you realize how important this is to our city.”
There was one request to have the matter on the public ballot since a previous expansion was handled that way but the individual was told there may be a way to petition to do that.
Since the decision on March 13 to pursue USDA funding for the Hospital Building and Modernization Project, a lot of activity has happened, said Jayson Pullman, Hawarden Regional Healthcare CEO. The HRH and the city have worked closely together during the preparation and submission of the application of USDA funds. The USDA obligated funds to the city on Sept. 27.
“I have met with each council member to discuss the logistics surrounding this project, the anticipated construction time line, the budget and repayment plan,” he said, adding in the preparation for the USDA application there was a detailed review of the hospital’s financial stability and market study prior to the obligation of funds from the USDA.
“The project provides a responsible use of dollars to modernize and construct new space,” Pullman told councilors at their Nov. 13 meeting. “The project includes a new emergency, radiology, operating and specialty clinics. In addition the plan supports a new kitchen and dining area, the modernization of current space for eight private patient rooms with private accommodations. The project also provides a separate entrance for the emergency department patients and another public access for all other services. The project upgrades the heating and air conditioning systems and maximizes patient services to streamline care given to patients. The project does not stifle opportunities for future growth if needed and creates a viable solution to solidify health care in Hawarden for many years to come.”
“Activities will begin construction in July or August of 2014,” he said. “The hospital will also start activities on a local fund-raising effort to help support the project.”
Sale of public property
A public hearing and resolution to vacate an alley, known as the Huls property with a resolution for final disposition of the real estate and the same procedure regarding an alley was held.
The former Huls property was sold to Robby Munns for $500 as well as an alley. Following the public hearing, councilors voted 5-0 to approve the sale.
16th Street Plan
Hawarden councilors unanimously approved the Resolution of Necessity and proceeding to the preparation of detailed plans stage by Schlotfeldt Engineering of Le Mars for the 16th Street Improvement Project for a concrete overlay.
The councilors’ vote gained the required four votes for passage.
The only public input came from West Sioux Shared Superintendent Randy Collins who shared with city officials that the school supports the project.
The Hawarden councilors meet the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m., at Hawarden City Offices. Dec. 11 is the next meeting and final one for the year. It will include oaths of office for Hawarden City Council winners Monte Harvey, Joel Fluit and Tim Kurth and Hawarden Regional Healthcare Board of Trustees four-year term election winners Denny Hulshof and Stan Hoekstra. Meetings are open to the public.
The city budget schedule for discussions on the 2014-2015 budget, due to Sioux County officials by March 15, will be announced Dec. 11.
Winter parking rules
“The winter parking rules are in effect. If your car is parked on a city street in a snowfall, it is a $20 ticket,” said Hawarden Police Chief Mike DeBruin.