Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 30, 2017

Board of Health discusses building options

By Xiomara Levsen | Apr 21, 2017

 

During the Washington County Board of Health meeting Thursday afternoon, new building options were discussed.

Board member Dr. Chris Grier asked for this item to be placed on the agenda.

“I’m just curious, Jack [Seward, Jr.], from a supervisor’s standpoint, I guess specifically with our department - what’s the next step?” Grier asked Seward. “Where do we go from here?”

The supervisors had discussed the Pamida building, because it could house a few different county departments, Seward said.

“I heard somebody beat us to the punch on Pamida [building],” Seward explained. “At least for a bid. They have received at least an offer, and the realtor Abe [Miller, Washington County supervisor] was speaking with said they weren’t taking any more bids or offers at this time, so we’ll see if that one goes through.”

The supervisors were still interested in finding a place that would help several county departments with spacing needs, including the public health department, he added. The two departments on the top of the list to find building options for were the communications center and public health.

“I don’t think it should have [gone] public,” board member Connie Larsen said. “I think going public with it hurt.”

“It was not intended to, but the word got out,” Seward said, “and once the word got out and once we went to the point of paying for two inspectors to come and look at it, one was a commercial building inspector and the other was an engineering inspector. Once we spent public money on that, if anybody would have filed a Freedom of Public Information request … that’s public information.”

“I didn’t know that,” Larsen said.

The supervisors tried to keep it confidential, Seward said. There were people who put two and two together and went to the seller to confirm the county was interested in the building.

“Does that mean no current ideas whatsoever?” Grier asked Seward.

“Yes, you’re correct,” Seward replied. “We don’t have any plans to move forward on anything. Our eyes and ears are open.”

Back to square one, Grier said.

Seward said not necessarily, because the supervisors know what type of space they would need to house several different county departments. For now all they could do was keep their eyes and ears open for something that might come open.

“I mean I don’t mean to press this uncomfortably, but haven’t we known that for 10 years?” Grier asked Seward.

“Yes,” Seward replied.

“OK, what changes in 2017?” Grier asked. “I mean, communications - it sounds like that place needs to be torn down. Am I right?”

Seward said that was correct.

Obviously, Grier was concerned, he said. The Pamida building would have the space for public health and communications department spacing needs.

Washington County Public Health administrator Danielle Pettit-Majewski asked if there were any more comments from the board. After no one spoke up, the board moved on to another topic.

Other items covered at the meeting included:

• approving the Maternal Child Adolescent Health request application;

• approving the 2018 fiscal year First Five HMDI Implementation request;

• and received an update about the hoarder issue in Riverside from Washington County Environmental Health director Jennine Wolf. Wolf said she is going to try to gain entry to the home next week.

If she is refused entry, then she will contact the Washington County attorney’s office for a warrant to enter the home.

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