Canal Winchester medical center moves ahead


With the final pieces falling into place, Mount Carmel Health and Fairfield Medical Center representatives hope to break ground this fall on the first phase of a new $35 million, 70,000-square-foot emergency care complex on Diley Road.

Following Canal Winchester Village Council action approving the addition of parcels to the Diley Road TIF (tax increment financing) area in order to make them eligible for tax exemption status, Brett Justice, Mount Carmel vice president for strategic advancement, said the two companies look forward to establishing the complex in Canal Winchester and bringing the project to fruition.

"This is the last step," Justice told council on Aug. 18, "and you should see some movement out there this fall. We hope to have a groundbreaking ceremony by the end of September or beginning of October. We’re going through the permit process now with the intent of opening in 2009. It will open with an emergency campus, full lab and diagnostic services, and medical offices. Our plan is to then expand the campus as doctors and the community require services."

The 24-hour center will feature access to ground and air transport and staffed by emergency medicine physicians, emergency-trained nurses, ER technicians, and support associates in addition to MRI, CT scan, x-ray, and ultrasound capabilities; a clinical laboratory; pharmacy, and medical office building. It is expected to treat 10,000 patients in the first year and nearly 16,000 by its fifth year of operation.

Construction is expected to start in the  spring on the project-which is a joint partnership between the Fairfield County center and the Columbus-based health care system-and be completed in fall 2009. Subsequent development phases could begin in as early as three years and may include phased development of an outpatient surgery center, additional office space, and an inpatient hospital.

The TIF is an infrastructure economic development tool designed to provide a mechanism for funding infrastructure improvements directly benefiting commercial development leading to economic development. Under the terms of a TIF, a property owner is required to make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) in an amount equal to the real property taxes that would have been payable if the property owner had not received the TIF exemption.

PILOTs paid by property owners are deposited into a special TIF fund and used to pay the costs of infrastructure improvements directly benefiting the property. The exemption only relates to the increased value of the land and new buildings. Real property taxes continue to be collected and distributed to county, township, municipality, school, and special districts.

"This is a non-school TIF," commented Gene Hollins, village law director.

Gender Road improvements

Council heard the first reading of an ordinance seeking financial assistance to fund improvements at the intersection of Gender Road and Winchester Boulevard. Within a three year period, almost 150 accidents were recorded at the intersection where an average of 22,000 cars pass through on a daily basis.

"We talked about how we need some help at this intersection," said Councilman John Bender, "and how to get some money through grants."

Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon pointed out, "You can see the impact on that intersection because of the closing of High Street (at U.S. Route 33)."

Violet Township invites CW

The Violet Township trustees invited Canal Winchester to the township’s Bicentennial Community Picnic on Sept. 7, 4-7 p.m., as part of a year-long celebration commemorating Violet Township’s 200th anniversary. Organizers hope to break the world record for the biggest picnic on the soccer fields at Pickerington Central High School, 300 Opportunity Way.

Blessid Union of Souls will be in concert from 5:30-7 p.m. and the Winchester (high school) Steel Company will perform at 4:10 p.m. The picnic also features a recipe judging contest, table decorating contest, old-fashioned sing-a-long, and a special kid’s area. Root beer floats will be $1.

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