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Scrutiny of health site intensifies; specter of moving to Hillsboro resurfaces

Staff writer

Location and size of a proposed county health department continue to be factors in discussing what might be built.

Marion Advancement Corp. donated the former county food bank location at 1220 E. Main St. in Marion to the county, and commissioners have eyed putting a new building there.

Commissioners’ initial plan was to move the health department to the former Silk Salon building, 1240 Commercial St., Marion, which the county purchased for $160,000 in June 2022.

County health nurse Krista Schneider told commissioners a year ago that estimates for building renovation, addition of storage, and making the property suitable for treatments to people unable to get out of a car totaled $693,700.

Other plans were made for the former salon.

In February, Schneider told commissioners she wanted a 5,300 square-foot building that would have space for additional programs and storage of items the health department gives out, such as smoke detectors, child safety seats, and carbon monoxide detectors.

Two weeks ago, commissioners met with an architect, Schneider, and engineer Darin Neufeld.

The architect’s initial plan was for a 4,115 square-foot building, but Schneider requested changes that would add 1,065 square feet.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said Monday that putting the health department at the proposed location would not allow for changes to be made later.

“Whatever you do in that spot, I guarantee you won’t do anything else in 10 years,” Dallke said. “We won’t be able to build onto it. You won’t be able to add a drive. You won’t do anything.”

Commissioner Kent Becker said the health department could be located in Hillsboro.

“You have to remember this is the county health department, not the Marion city health department,” Becker said.

Last modified Sept. 14, 2023

 

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