CLINTON — Facing mounting opposition from Clinton residents, community leaders met Thursday to discuss locations for a low-income healthcare clinic other than downtown parkland.
Community Health Care, Inc., a Quad-Cities based healthcare company would like to put a clinic on 1 acre of the municipal parking lot attached to Clinton Park on Third Street.
The city would sell the land to CHC for $1 and CHC would use a $3.2 million federal grant to construct a 12,000 square foot facility. The grant requires the construction of a new building and does not allow for renovation of an old building or pay for land acquisition. The project also has to be substantially complete by September.
CHC is being assisted in the project by the Sisters of St. Francis to find a location that will be centrally located and close to public transportation. The clinic is expected to have 3,600 medical and 1,920 dental visits annually and employ 14 full-time equivalents.
After information on the proposed development in Clinton Park came forward during the Clinton City Council’s committee of the whole meeting last week, city officials heard from a host of downtown business owners and community members who felt the sale would negatively impact the city.
“We were hearing that people believed in the healthcare center, just not the location. So we wanted to look at solutions,” Sister Anne Martin Phelan told 15 people who met Thursday to conceive other ideas. “We’re not attached to that property. It’s just that seemed to be available. It would probably be environmentally friendly, it’s definitely within part of the neighborhood that would be served.”
Among those voicing opposition after learning about the plans for Clinton Park was John Eisenman, who is the co-owner of Abstract and Title in downtown Clinton and also serves as the Chairman of the Downtown Clinton Alliance. Eisenman wrote a letter to the city on behalf of the alliance urging the the city against the location because the loss of free, off-street parking would negatively impact efforts to develop upper-floor housing, among other things.