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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2003

Defiance County eyes hospital land

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The city-owned land in Defiance where the former Defiance Hospital sits could become the property of the county commissioners.

The commissioners are trying to negotiate a deal to buy the East Second Street land at a proposed cost of $2.7 million, said Dave Williams, the city's law director.

Commissioner Tom Kime said yesterday commissioners hope they'll learn this week from county Prosecutor Jeff Strausbaugh whether the deal could become a reality.

Mr. Kime said the property would help ease space problems within the county, as spelled out in a county facilities study conducted three years ago. He said there are no set plans for the land's use.

“The problem we have now is we don't have room to grow,” Mr. Kime said.

The proposed purchase also would hinge on City Council at a later date - possibly at a meeting Aug. 5 - approving a newly negotiated pact with ProMedica Health System, which is affiliated with the Defiance Hospital system.

Defiance Hospital, which has a lease with the city for the property, vacated its East Second Street building last fall when it became the Defiance Regional Medical Center and moved to a campus on the northwest edge of town.

The hospital and city have been trying to reach an agreement about the land and the lease since the mid-1990s.

Last fall, the hospital offered to pay the city $250,000 over the next five years, once the city resumed control of the old hospital campus. In exchange, the city was to agree not to rent the site to a hospital competitor. Council members, though, did not approve the proposal.

In a new proposed agreement released to the public at the council's meeting Tuesday, ProMedica would sign a 15-year lease with the city that would not require the hospital to continue operating a medical facility at the site.

In turn, ProMedica would be responsible for razing the former Defiance Hospital, with the city agreeing to pay up to $500,000 of the demolition costs.

ProMedica also would donate $200,000 to the city, which would be used by city leaders to promote community heath.

If approved by council, Mr. Williams said both the city and ProMedica officials would be involved in negotiating the future sale of the hospital land during the set 15-year time frame. As of now, he said both sides ultimately favor the city selling the land to the county commissioners.

The city would receive the profits from the sale, he added.



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