Our town is blessed with some great opportunities if we simply have the courage to see the possibilities. Self-serving or hidden agendas may create a schism in the community which is the antithesis of the purpose behind the hospital and the Eagles. They both exist to serve the community. So does Tonasket City Council. Don’t get me wrong, I’m for the hospital addition and remodel. I campaigned and voted for the bond issue.
Many Eagle members are in favor of the hospital remodel and addition. The Eagle’s property is the favored acquisition in order to build the new addition and provide parking. Unfortunately, hospital leadership has failed to open a timely dialog with the Eagles on this matter. The proposed building configuration that is now favored is not the same as was published and circulated during the bond campaign. It is easy to recognize that the community experienced a sense of betrayal at the misleading sales pitch. The hospital’s approach to acquiring property has left us bitter. That said, many of the people I stand with still favor a better health care facility.
At the forefront is the issue of vacating Second Street. Its approval by Tonasket City Council is premature at this time. Approval would give the hospital an unfair upper hand. This act would undoubtedly appear to the community as a devious scheme to assist North Valley Hospital in their acquisition of adjacent property. Eminent Domain over another’s property should not become a topic of conversation in our community.
We are all part of this community. Let’s not sacrifice one benevolent organization or business location for the benefit of another! There is room in this town to create a win-win situation. I don’t want to see the Hospital vs. Eagles in court. Eminent Domain might be a legal option for the hospital but just because they can, does not mean they should. Our members need the hospital and they need us. We are almost 1000 strong. Friends, relatives and those who have benefited from the Eagles far exceed that 1000 mark. We are present and potentially future patients of the hospital. We recognize our need for a hospital; do they recognize their need for us? The hospital needs our support.
Certainly North Valley Hospital representatives recognize this as a tentative, awkward and politically damaging position for them. It is our wish that the hospital representatives engage us with their vision for the Eagles’ future and entertain aiding us to accomplish means with which to achieve those visions. Once common ground is established between us, your vote to vacate 2nd Street will be nothing more than a rubber stamp, not a crown fire. Surely the city understands the implications of a premature vacate vote by council members. Delay your vote until North Valley Hospital and adjacent property owners come to terms. This simple act serves the community.
There is a public hearing scheduled for Nov. 27, 7 p.m., at the council chambers at City Hall. This hearing is specifically for vacating 2nd Street. Let’s all express our concerns by attending that meeting.
Lee Frank Mercantile