County acquires hospital complex, now planning for renovations
Milam County now owns the former Little River Hospital complex.
The Milam County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 to acquire the 8.5-acre property during a special meeting on Tuesday morning. Precinct 2 Commissioner Donald Shuffield was the lone vote against the move.
The move will exchange nine buildings the county currently owns in downtown Cameron with the site, which will give the county 50,000 square feet of usable space.
Milam County Judge Steve Young said the county now plans to renovate the old hospital building and are in the process of applying for $5.5 million infrastructure grant through the Economic Development Administration to help pay for those renovations. If awarded the grant funding, the county would be responsible for a 20 percent match.
The county held off on selecting a contractor among their eight recently opened bids because the EDA asked to review the bids the grant funds would potentially be used on. Commissioners voted to go ahead with submitting the grant application.
The grant application is for the hospital building and the professional building build out that will be used for urgent care in the future.
Commissioners approved the renovation of the professional building located on the hospital grounds using the already awarded $600,000 in CARES Act money to pay for those renovations.
Commissioners voted to hire Stan Graves with ArchiTex to draw up the plans for the professional building and EBCO General Contractor will be the general contractor on the project. Due to the money being grant funds there was no bid process needed.
Young said he has also agreed with Danielle Janicek, who plans to open and operate a COVID-19 test facility and urgent care facility in the renovated building, to go ahead with the renovation. The county can use that CARES Act grant funding for COVID-19 related projects and resources. The only stipulation regarding these funds is that they be entirely spent by the end of the year.
Graves was on hand and said he would begin to draw up plans working with EBCO to get the project underway.
During the meeting Young also gave an update on the COVID-19 pandemic saying cases are on the rise and that last week the county saw a 20 new cases. He said he knew putting a face mask mandate in place would be unpopular, but thought it had to be done.
No action was taken from Commissioners on the State of Disaster for Milam County stating that all businesses and commercial entities should require employees and patrons to wear a mask. The court is expected to address the issue during their regular meeting on Monday, July 6, again.