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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Relinquishing wetland could help USDA application

Friday, November 16, 2012

(Photo contributed) Plans are in the works to transfer ownership of this wetland parcel on the eastern edge of the Floyd Valley Hospital campus to the Calvary Cemetery Board. The four stakes identify the size of the 0.03-acre area the hospital owns. The cemetery board owns the remainder of the ditch.
A small wetland area on the Floyd Valley Hospital campus may soon have a new owner.

The city of Le Mars is taking steps to transfer the 0.03-acre parcel of the ditch on the eastern edge of the city-owned hospital's campus to the adjoining neighbor, Calvary Cemetery Board.

Floyd Valley Hospital (FVH) officials asked for the transfer of property to aid in securing financing for the hospital's proposed north addition.

FVH is applying for an about $15.8 million United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development loan for the proposed $20 million north addition.

The north addition concept includes a two-story addition with surgical operating rooms and administrative offices on the top floor and a new family medicine clinic on the lower level; along with renovations in the existing hospital building.

Mike Donlin, FVH administrator, explained that a USDA requirement included an environmental study because of the wetland and the plan to build the addition in a flood plain.

Transferring ownership of the wetland to the Calvary Cemetery Board addresses that concern, Donlin said.

"They've had this wetland all along, except for this little piece," he said. "They will just have the whole thing now."

Donlin added that members of the Calvary Cemetery Board are receptive to the idea of taking over ownership of the 0.03-acre parcel.

"We're asking the city (of Le Mars) to execute an agreement with the Calvary Cemetery Board to accept replatting of the border between our two properties, which concludes them having all the wetland," Donlin explained.

Because FVH is owned by the city of Le Mars, the city must request the transfer of property.

Last week the Le Mars City Council passed a resolution setting a public hearing at noon Tuesday, Nov. 20 to take comments on transferring ownership of the wetland.

Donlin explained that concerns about the wetland had never come up before because this is the first time the hospital has applied for an USDA loan.

"We want our application to be processed," he said. "The simplest, quickest thing to do is get that little piece of ground off our books."

There will be no exchange of money for the transfer of ownership, but the hospital will pay any expenses such as recording a new deed or if a survey is necessary, Donlin said.

He added that hospital officials have been working closely with the USDA to ensure their loan application meets all the requirements.

"We're very pleased with the collaboration we've had with the USDA at all levels," Donlin said. "They've been helping us get everything together."

Transferring ownership of the wetland parcel to the Calvary Cemetery Board would solve one of the environmental issues delaying the USDA application.

The other concern involves the hospital's plan to build the north addition in a flood-plain.

"We have to show we've examined any other possible place to locate our addition," Donlin said. "This is the only place that we could come up with that would help us still do our mission of the hospital."

There is not enough space on the other three sides of the existing hospital to accommodate the planned north addition, Donlin explained.

The hospital plans to submit the USDA loan application in early December, following completion of the environmental study currently in the public comment period.

Donlin said an answer from the USDA on the loan application is expected somewhere around Feb. 1, plus or minus 30 days.

"We're still very optimistic that we are going to be successful with the USDA program," he said.

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