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IHC flier touts hospital

Jay Hamburger, OF THE RECORD STAFF

In an attempt to explain its plans to build a hospital at Quinn’s Junction, Intermountain Healthcare recently distributed a colorful flier describing the project, sending thousands of copies of the promotional material to people in Summit County.

The healthcare company is trying to win approval from City Hall to annex land into the Park City limits and then build the facility. The hospital proposal has been widely praised and has dodged organized opposition but the Park City Planning Commission has spent months considering the proposal.

The Planning Commission must make a recommendation to the City Council, which has authority in such matters. If the land is annexed, IHC would return to the Planning Commission to seek the approval to build the facility.

The flier, with a red cover showing an artist rendering of the hospital, was distributed during a period in which the hospital proposal has garnered little interest from regular Parkites.

A task force considering the request late in 2005 asked that a new zoning district be created. The land is located on the northwest corner of Quinn’s Junction. The local government is still debating the zoning at the site.

Randy Probst, the IHC administrator leading the company’s Quinn’s Junction development plans, said IHC distributed the flier to inform people of the plans. He said IHC has received lots of queries about the project.

"I don’t know that it’s specific timing. We had lots of folks asking questions," Probst said.

IHC decided to send the mailer at the beginning of 2006 and Probst was unsure how much the brochure cost.

Probst indicated the brochure was not published to counter opposition. He said the Planning Commission seemed "pretty positive" toward the plans at a recent meeting regarding the project.

In the brochure, IHC describes the medical services it expects to offer, including internal medicine, pediatrics and general surgery. It also makes a case for the Quinn’s Junction location, indicating that the spot is convenient and will not disturb a neighborhood.

It also claims that the hospital estimates that it would provide $950,000 in "charity care" each year.

Meanwhile, the original landowners intend to give a five-acre parcel to the United States Ski and Snowboard Association to build a headquarters for the U.S. Ski Team, the brochure said.

Probst said IHC is holding meetings with doctors, saying that the physicians want privileges at the hospital. He said about 45 doctors may work at the hospital when it opens. In Heber, where the closest hospital to Summit County is located, almost 60 physicians have privileges, he said.

IHC wants to build the facility close to the Park City ice arena and nearby the National Ability Center and its annexation request encompasses about 160 acres.

Initially, IHC plans to build a 100,000 to 110,000-square-foot hospital with an additional 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of space for expansion. Over the next 30 to 40 years, the facility could bulge to as much as 300,000 square feet. Another 100,000 square feet of medical offices are contemplated.

"We’re ready to start when those kinds of approvals come," Probst said.

Pat Putt, City Hall’s Planning director, said the Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the application on March 8 and he hopes that commissioners in April craft a recommendation to the City Council. He said discussions regarding traffic and affordable housing need to be finalized. Putt labeled the talks thus far "real productive."

The IHC proposal is among the most significant development applications that the Planning Commission has considered in the post-Winter Olympic era.

Many Parkites have wanted a hospital to be built locally for years. They say that the population of Summit County, now topping 30,000, warrants a local hospital and they prefer staying locally for some medical services rather than traveling to the Salt Lake Valley.

Joanna Charnes, the executive director of the Summit County Healthcare Foundation, a group supporting IHC’s plans, said the mailing was distributed to people on the West Side of Summit County and those living in North Summit and South Summit.

Since the brochure was distributed, she received 12 phone calls about the facility, Charnes said, including those in support and those with questions about services, insurance and nursing job opportunities.

"We’ve been really eager to convey to people just what the hospital may look like," Charnes said.


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