Deal still in works for former annex property on State Street

Bartholomew County officials are still waiting to close a land swap deal with Columbus Regional Hospital that would give the hospital the former county annex property on State Street.

But the deal is still likely to move forward, even though the hospital has changed its plans for the Volunteers in Medicine clinic.

The hospital had planned to locate the clinic on the former State Street school property along with a new county annex building. But the plans for the annex fell apart last year over funding concerns. in county government. Since then, the hospital has decided to move the clinic into the old emergency room space at the hospital on 17th Street.

But County Commissioners President Rick Flohr said the land swap is still moving ahead. The county will swap the vacant State Street property for the hospital-owned doctor’s offices off of Foxpointe Drive that now house the county health department.

“That is still going to happen,” Flohr said.  “We keep saying ‘within the month’ and it is just a matter of when they have the documents ready to sign, I am sure we will do it,” Flohr said.

After the annex plan fell apart, County Commissioners had to scramble to find office space for the county functions that used to operate in the annex building.  The county is also moving ahead with plans to find a permanent home for the Purdue Extension Office, by purchasing a property on South Marr Road that has been used by Premier Ag as its headquarters.

The county has a purchase agreement in place to buy two buildings on South Marr Road at a cost of about $700,000. But that is dependent on appraisals coming back showing it is a good deal. Under state law, the county can pay no more than the average price suggested by the two appraisals.

Flohr said that county has contracted with two companies to get the appraisals done but that could take up to 45 days to complete.