The Clinton County Commissioners and Clinton County Council jointly convened in a special session Tuesday morning and signed a Economic Development Project Agreement (EDPA) between the County, University Health Inc. and Indiana University Health Frankfort, Inc. (IUHF) by which all three entities would agree on the terms for the construction of a replacement Frankfort hospital facility.
The agreement wrapped up nearly two years of discussions on the new $30 million hospital to be built right behind the current facility on Jackson Street between White and Hackett streets. The facility will also include a new ambulance entry way off White Street and moving the heliport from the Clinton County Fairgrounds to the southeast corner near the new ambulance entry way.
“This is a huge milestone and we’ve had this circled for quite some time,” said IU Health President Kelly Braverman. “But, we’re not quite there yet. We still have our wonderful partners with the city and we’ve got a few more documents with them to take care of as well.”
The agreement is broken down into four specific requests. First, the county commits to a $5 million economic development incentive payable over 10 years. Second, the county must sell the land to IU Health for $1. Third, the county must collaborate with IU Health and the City of Frankfort to raise $4 million in additional philanthropic and grant support; and fourth, the county must provide all county approvals reasonably requested by IU Health.
From the city, IU Health is requesting the city agree to a $500,000 economic development incentive payable over eight years, collaborate with IU Health and the county to raise another $4 million in additional grant support, provide all city approvals requested for the project and provide waivers and discounts for agreed upon city utility connections and services. Braverman is hoping those documents can be taken care of before the end of March.
Once all of this is agreed to, IU Health will begin construction on the facility that will have no more than 25 beds because it is a critical access hospital. The completion date for the project is the end of 2021.
“It’s very patient friendly,” said Braverman of the building. “I think that ‘s the big deal that we’ve been able to listen to our patients and get them what they’ve asked for. We are elated to be part of the community for the long haul.”
Obviously, all members of the County Council and Commissioners were elated with the signing.
“I’m really excited for our community and what this means for the long term,” said Commissioners President Josh Uitts. “In the short term, we’re going to have a lot going on around the current hospital facility while the new one is being constructed. I’m excited that the folks of Clinton County are going to have a hospital here for the foreseeable future and it’s going to be a state-of-the-art, brand new facility.”
Uitts added this is a big deal for the area.
“This is huge for Clinton County,” said Uitts. “This is not an opportunity that a lot of rural communities are having these days.”
Clinton County Council President Alan Dunn echoed Uitts’ comments.
“I think this is an important as any other infrastructure project that we could talk about whether we’re talking about housing, whether we’re talking about about wastewater, whether we’re talking about roads, whether we’re talking about school referendums,” said Dunn. “All those things are important to a person or business trying to decide where to locate. And healthcare is just as important as any of those other things. To me, this is something we can be proud of and gives us access to cutting edge medical technology.”
Braverman said the main part of the current facility was built in 1951 with additions being done in 1979 and 1995. She added once the new facility is built, the current facility would be demolished and turned into a parking lot with lots of green space.