We often don’t have time to attend public meetings, so we are relying on what the Gazette-Tribune reported took place at the Tonasket City Council’s Nov. 27 meeting concerning public comment on the new addition planned for North Valley Hospital. It sounds that we need to keep all options open, keep an open mind and use some common sense to resolve this problem.
First I will say that we are not associated in anyway with North Valley Hospital, although we have used and appreciate their services. We also have no association with the Tonasket Eagles, although we have attended and enjoyed several functions that have occurred there. And also, we are not associated with any of the businesses currently located on that portion of Main Street; however, we have done business with many of them. When we voted for the North Valley Hospital bond levy, we saw drawings of the proposed expansion, and thought it had already been decided what would be included, and that it had been approved by all land owners involved. Now we find that it is just being decided what to do with our money.
According to the Gazette-Tribune news article there are three options for the expansion of North Valley Hospital. “The first is to buy the Whitestone Apartments, forcing the businesses there to move. While that plan is cost effective for the community, it is not ideal.” But then, neither of the other two options are ideal either, and being “cost effective” should be of MAJOR concern when using public money. Two things mentioned at the meeting were that “a hospital is vital to a community” and that “relocating the current businesses on Main Street would be detrimental to the community.” But, if a hospital is vital to a community, then its being partially located on Main Street should be a great addition to the community. The fact that there are open locations on Main Street and Western Avenue for the “removed businesses” to relocate to should make this option more of an opportunity for someone, rather than a detriment to the community. As Main Street becomes fuller, it will be more attractive to those passing through, and as Western Avenue becomes more a part of downtown it will attract more use of History Park and the Tonasket Pool.
The second option is to “purchase the north 18 feet of the Eagles property” however this option is “the most inadequate.” It makes no sense to spend millions of the public’s dollars only to build something that is immediately inadequate.
The third option is “to expand over the Eagle’s property” and although this option is considered the “best by hospital staff” it has the potential to cause the most people to be upset and unsupportive of the community hospital. The community needs the community hospital, and the community hospital needs the community.
Another thing that should be considered is the condition and value of the buildings that may be demolished. We are not familiar with all aspects of these buildings, however we do have first hand knowledge that the reason PT Works moved out of the office in the Whitestone Hotel Building is because the roof continuously leaked, causing flooding which resulted in mold and health issues. The age and condition of the Whitestone Hotel Building should lower its value.
Please be open minded, open to all options and spend our public money in the most wise and cost effective manner possible.
Bruce, Sonja and Sara