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County manager: New hospital still in the works

Christine McManus

BRECKENRIDGE – Hospital-planning discussions among Centura Health, doctors in the area and Summit County government are still in preliminary stages.

County Manager Ron Holliday had to cancel his much-anticipated Monday morning announcement that talks had officially turned into more serious planning logistics.

The new hospital would replace the Summit Medical Center and be located on public land behind the County Commons near Frisco.

Last week, Holliday listed the hospital issue on the original Monday agenda for the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). He had to pull the hospital discussion off the agenda.

“Everyone is operating in good faith and working toward bringing a hospital to Summit County,” Holliday said. “We were hoping to have some loose ends tied up by last Friday. It’s a complicated negotiation with many facets. As my grandmother would say, “There are lots of cooks stirring the broth.'”

Plans are in the works for a hospital on 17 acres next to the County Commons on the outskirts of south Frisco. A hospital and a medical office building for local doctors would be built on the 17-acre site where lodgepole pine trees and aspens now stand.

The property is on the west side of the bike path and some may have noticed surveyor’s tape on trees in the area.

The site is zoned for natural resources. Once plans are submitted and reviewed by county planners, the BOCC would vote whether to approve a change in zoning to match the rest of the County Commons.

The proposed zoning that would allow for a hospital and medical building, called planned unit development (PUD) zoning, is more flexible than commercial, retail or other specific zoning designations, said County Attorney Jeff Huntley.

Doctors have a couple representatives voicing their needs.

The county, local doctors and Centura are still mapping out who will pay for what, and who will control which operations. Centura Health earmarked $41 million for a new hospital and medical office building in Summit County.

“There’s competition for that money. If we don’t get a deal completed here within a reasonable time, we might lose that,” Holliday said.

The announcement that plans are officially in the works might be made by the end of the month. Holliday said he is hesitant to set another timeline for when the public can expect an announcement that plans are officially rolling along. However, he hopes construction crews would break ground by June 2004.

“It’s a lot like trying to satisfy all the members of a family in one household at the same time,” said County Commissioner Tom Long. “Trying to get everyone satisfied is a real challenge in this deal.”

The county has wanted a hospital for years. Discussions with Centura began more than a year ago.


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