Interim funds secure for complex

Published 11:02 am Friday, October 3, 2008

Another step was taken Thursday afternoon in the process of building a new medical facility in Lawrence County.

The Lawrence County Commission approved a resolution that arranges interim financing to purchase several parcels of property at the intersection of State Route 141 and U.S. 52.

U.S. Bank will be the lending agent. The $2.3 million will be loaned through the county commission to the Lawrence County Port Authority and guaranteed by the port authority, the Lawrence Economic Development Corp. and the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization. LEDC Executive Director, Dr. Bill Dingus, said the county is involved so the project can get a better interest rate.

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“The county is not putting up the funds,” Commissioner Jason Stephens stressed.

“The county is acting as a vehicle,” CAO Assistant Director Ralph Kline agreed.

Kline said the actual land acquisition should commence within the next 2-3 weeks. The design of the facility, he said, has already begun. Eventually, the financing for the land acquisition will be rolled into permanent financing for the entire project.

Commissioners hailed the step toward a new medical facility as not only a necessity for improved health care but a tool for economic development.

“This helps out the county immensely but it helps out the city of Ironton, too,” Commission President Doug Malone said.

This move comes weeks after Lawrence County Health Care Futures, LLC, a consortium of local development entities and health care specialists, officially announced plans to build a medical complex that could eventually create about 200 jobs. Besides the LEDC and CAO, St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington, W.Va., is also a member of the consortium.

The project has two phases, the first of which is to construct a family medical center with extended urgent care hours with the possibility of other services, including an imaging center, surgery center and other specialty clinical space.