Blogs > Northern Ohio Local Politics

Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Decision to transfer hospital titles to LHS was a long time coming

Lake County commissioners decision to transfer the property titles of LakeEast, LakeWest and Mentor Medical Campus to Lake Hospital System wasn’t a big surprise to me.

It’s been something officials have casually bantered about as something they should look into doing for the past couple years. So with LHS leaving in the fall, the timing was ripe for this exchange to occur.

While some in the community may be upset or sad to see LakeEast closing down, Painesville officials are optimistic they can transform the downtown region into something special. If all goes well, perhaps the area could become a hot spot like downtown Willoughby or at the least create some new buzz in the area.

With a need to replace the revenues the city enjoyed with LakeEast in place, coming up with a new plan for the city’s downtown region is a must and that's what city leaders are working on right now.

The city also is working to find funding to pay to demolish the old hospital once it closes by applying for state grants, but if that doesn’t work they are also trying to get federal funding.

Painesville has had success securing state and federal grants in the past, getting millions of dollars for the flood-ravaged Millstone and Gristmill condos.

In the meantime, commissioners are happy to see their names taken off the title.

One reason is because they will no longer be the official deed holder, which would make Painesville’s application for grants or loans from the state or federal level much easier. That’s because a two-way transaction involving LHS and Painesville is less complicated than a three-way transaction, officials have said.

But also, and probably more importantly, commissioners no longer will need to worry about paying for the cost of closing up the hospital or to demolish it.

An interesting item from the transfer process is that officials pondered whether the transfer still gave commissioners the authority to appoint the hospital’s board of trustees.

That appointing authority power was created back in 1985 when LHS took over the old Lake County Hospital. At the time, it was a way to ensure the public still had some control over the hospital’s operations.

But now, commissioners no longer are the owners of property that LHS uses.

I'm not advocating either way, but perhaps relinquishing this authority may be something commissioners and LHS discuss in the future?

-- John Arthur Hutchison


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home