OHH briefs Council on planned street closures

Olney Hamilton Hospital briefed the new City Administrator and Councilmembers on a plan to close part of Avenue L to make way for a new hospital plaza, OHH board president Dale Lovett told the City Council on May 13.

The Hospital is “working on the design and implementation of the new hospital,” he said.

On March 18, the OHH board asked the City Council to allow the hospital to permanently shut down Avenue L between the alley south of Main Street and Hamilton Street so they can build the hospital complex over it.

The hospital owns the properties on either side of the street that would be closed if the Council approves it, Mr. Lovett said.

City Attorney Bill Myers and OHH’s attorney met and performed property surveys to make sure of the lot lines and that the hospital owns the properties free and clear, Mr. Lovett said.

Mr. Lovett said the hospital will not close any part of Hamilton Street because of problems providing access to the school campuses and utility lines make that unfeasible.

“The concern with Hamilton Street in the future is for pedestrian egress from the parking area to the hospital, and we are concerned that the way people drive on Hamilton Street right now, it would not be a safe passage,” he said.

Possible solutions include creating a pedestrian crosswalk or controlling traffic in a way that could be safer for pedestrians, he said.

There are no utilities under that section of Avenue L, Mr. Lovett said.

OHH officials and staff are still working on plans for the new hospital with their architect and engineers, Mr. Lovett told the Council.

“At present things are still being worked out with providers and staff,” he said. “[The new hospital] is proposed to face west toward the [Olney Family] Clinic. There are state requirements for parking so we will have ample parking areas around the hospital.”

Current plans call for a two-story building, as that is the most economical use of the $27 million in general obligation bonds that voters approved for the project in March, he said.