Allen County commissioners ordered a site plan for “possible commercial development” at the site of the old Allen County Hospital.
Landworks Studio, Olathe, will lay out how utilities and other prerequisites for development could be done. The decision to contract with Landworks came after a 10-minute executive session Tuesday morning with David Toland, Thrive Allen County executive director, and Bill Maness, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s area representative, meeting with commissioners Tom Williams, Jerry Daniels and Jim Talkington, as well as County Counselor Alan Weber.
Meanwhile, the medical arts building, adjacent to the abandoned hospital, will remain in place and continue to provide a venue for visiting physicians as well as the site for hospice and home health offices.
“It’s still full and will continue until we get a new one (medical arts center)” said Weber, hopefully out by the new hospital on North Kentucky Street.
However, “I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon,” with no investors having been identified and hospitals’ income, here and elsewhere, adversely affected by government cuts, including Kansas’ refusal to accept substantial Medicaid assistance from the federal government.
Were Kansas recipient of the federal guaranteed dollars — 100 percent next year and 90 percent after that — ACRH would have noticeable benefit, Administrator Ron Baker allowed at a recent commission meeting.
Weber said he expected results of tests for hazardous materials of the old hospital to be completed soon enough to seek bids for the structure’s razing in early June.
“Several companies have indicated an interest” in demolishing the old hospital, he added.
THE FIRST of what organizers hope with be monthly outdoor sales in Iola’s downtown will be May 9.
Jana Taylor, a proponent, told commissioners the plan was for merchants around the square to create a festive and appealing atmosphere by moving merchandise onto sidewalks in front of their stores. Others — she mentioned crafters as one possibility — will be invited to set up booths or tables on the perimeter of the courthouse lawn, which commissioners approved.
“Anything we can do to promote our small businesses I’m all for,” said Commissioner Talkington.
Commissioners also spent 30 minutes behind closed doors with Arlyn Briggs, Kincaid, his son, Ethan, and Richard and Marjorie Gibson, Danville, Iowa. The session occurred by way of the Kansas Open Meeting Act section that permits secret meetings to protect “confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships.”
No action was taken afterward, and the guests left without making any public comments.
Several months ago Briggs contacted the Register about possible redevelopment of the Hedge Apple Acres bed and breakfast about two miles east of Moran along the north side of U.S. 54.