Common Council to Vote on MCHS Request at August 8 Meeting

At tonight’s Common Council Meeting (watch LIVE on MGTV Charter Channel 991 or online here), the City of Marshfield Common Council will determine whether to approve a request from Marshfield Medical Center (formerly Marshfield Clinic Health Systems) to declare the hospital building as “blighted.” If approved, this would allow for Marshfield Medical Center to more easily finance upgrades.

The request has already been evaluated by the Community Development Authority (CDA), which is the City entity responsible for purposes including the carrying out of blight elimination, slum clearance, urban renewal programs and projects, and housing projects (Wisconsin State Statute 66.1335).

“First, the term ‘blighted’ doesn’t mean what some may think (i.e. that the building is falling apart, or unusable as a hospital), but rather that due to certain factors (age, obsolescence, etc.), it’s in need of upgrading,” said Steve Barg, City Administrator. “The main benefit is that this designation is expected to allow the Clinic to secure a much better interest rate for their major borrowing planned to finance significant improvements to the facility.”

Barg added that the long-term impact is expected to be a substantial upgrade to the Marshfield Medical Center, positioning this facility to meet the needs of the community and the surrounding area for many years to come.

Important to note, the City can only evaluate the request based on the information provided and by what is outlined under Wisconsin State Statutes.

“The Council’s main responsibility in taking this vote is to determine whether the CDA’s determination of ‘blight’ as defined by Wisconsin Statutes, based on the representations of MCHS, appears to have been met,” said Barg.

The meeting begins at 7:00pm at City Hall Council Chambers (630 S Central Ave). All are welcome to attend.

From the Common Council Agenda Packet for Tuesday, August 8:

Agenda Item:
S. Request to approve Resolution No. 2017-32 – declare property to be blighted and
authorize CDA to assist the redevelopment of property (Marshfield Medical Center).
Presented by Steve Barg, City Administrator

Memo:

DATE: August 4, 2017
TO: Mayor Meyer & City Council
FROM: Steve Barg, City Administrator
RE: Resolution No. 2017-32

Background
On July 1st, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Inc. (MCHS) closed on the purchase of St.
Joseph’s Hospital. At that time, MCHS was aware of the deterioration and deficiencies of
certain portions of the facility and equipment, some of which are referenced at the bottom
of page 3 of the attached letter. As part of its planned redevelopment, MCHS anticipates
making major repairs and improvements to the facility by the end of 2018 as highlighted
on page 4 of the attached letter.

Request
While reviewing the conditions of what is now called Marshfield Medical Center, MCHS
officials realized that this facility could potentially constitute blighted property as defined
in Wisconsin Statutes 66.1333 (copy attached), which would give them an opportunity to
secure a better interest rate for the significant borrowing planned to finance these repairs
and improvements. The term “blight” might suggest to some people that the property is in
such disrepair as to be unusable, but please note by the State law definition that includes
phrases like “age or obsolescence”, and conditions that “substantially impair or arrest the
sound growth of the community”, that the statutory definition is actually much broader.

CDA action
With the foundation for blight determination set forth in MCHS’ letter, CDA is expected
to meet on Monday, August 7th, before Tuesday’s Council meeting, to consider approval
of a resolution making this declaration. If this occurs, the Council would then be asked to
approve a similar resolution (Resolution No. 2017-32) on Tuesday night.
Recommendation

Subject to CDA’s prior approval, staff recommends approval of Resolution No. 2017-32. Read full packet here.

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