The Vernonia Health Board is scheduled to go in front of the Vernonia Planning Commission for the first time for a Public Hearing on Thursday October 17, 2013 at 7:00 PM. The Health Board is seeking approval of their site plan for construction of the new facility. The Planning Commission will consider the planned building exterior, vehicle access, parking lot and other improvements on the site. The Health Board will also ask for a lot line adjustment so they have a clearly defined project on the Rose Avenue site.
“Our planning is going well,” said Heather Lewis, spokesperson for the Health Board. “Our plan has our street improvement requirements, our parking requirements, how the utilities will be pulled into our building, and our own storm water storage collection. Our documents have been accepted by the city Building Department as complete and we’re excited to be going before the Planning Commission and moving forward.”
Lewis, who had been voluntarily assisting the Health Board with this project, was recently hired by the Board as Facility Program Director and will continue to develop the operations model for the Health Center. Lewis will also be working to not only search for funding to complete the capital campaign but to also find funding for operations. Lewis was also just appointed by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to the state Rural Health Coordinating Council, representing communities with populations of 3500 or less.
The Health Board also has received good news on the funding front for their new construction project. According to Lewis the project has had grant requests approved by The Ford Family Foundation for $250,000; by The Collins Foundation for $100,000 and has received $191,000 from Providence Health and Services. The Board is also hoping to hear word in November on an application for $300,000 from The Meyer Memorial Trust and an application to The Oregon Community Foundation. Lewis says there is another application which will be submitted this month.
“It looks like we are very close to raising our projected budget,” says Lewis. Lewis says that between all the grant funds and in-kind donations the total project budget will be just over $1.6 million.
According to Lewis, if progress continues the project expects to break ground in January 2014.
“The Health Board is very excited about the progress we’ve made and some other upcoming announcements on the horizon concerning the health care we are providing for the residents of the Vernonia area,” said Lewis. “We are continuing to develop relationships in order to expand services in the community. It has been a collective effort of many people who have created this momentum to keep this project moving forward.”