Parish moves one step closer to hospital constructionMar 15th, 2010 | By Frank McCormack | Category: Top Story
In a special called council meeting March 10, the St. Bernard Parish Council moved one step closer toward building a new hospital for the parish.
Addressing but one point of business, the council voted unanimously to authorize Parish President Craig Taffaro to execute a construction servitude agreement between the parish government, the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation, the St. Bernard Health Center and the parish’s Hospital Service District.
That necessary agreement will pave the way for construction crews to access the portion of Meraux property on which the hospital will be built. The document authorizes the Hospital Service District to access the Meraux Foundation property via one of the St. Bernard Health Center’s entrances from W. Judge Perez Drive.
The construction servitude agreement approval was the first in a string of parish government actions on the docket this week with regard to the hospital. Also on March 10, the Hospital Service District gave final approval to the temporary construction servitude agreement. The group also adopted the long-contentious permanent servitude agreement and approved donation of the future hospital site itself.
The construction servitude document puts the final piece in place for Landry and the Hospital Service District to finalize the donation March 12, Landry said. The formal land donation documents will be signed March 12 at 11 a.m. at the Meraux Foundation office, located on the 3rd floor of the Torres Park Plaza building.
“Part of the agreement executed this Friday will include land adjacent to the Health Clinic, which will be used for construction access,” Landry said.
Landry also reported during the brief meeting that the other points of disagreement between the Hospital Service District and the Meraux Foundation have been resolved.
The State Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), Landry said, has agreed to allow a new entrance for the hospital to be constructed along W. Judge Perez Drive.
“They have agreed to make a neutral ground cut where that entrance is going to go,” Landry said.
Landry said after the meeting he hopes that, in time, a traffic light will also be installed. In the past, DOTD had said no additional entrances from W. Judge Perez Drive could be built in that area.
“All the other problems we had with those documents were worked out last Friday,” Landry continued.
Specifically, Hospital Service District board member George Cavignac said the board and the Meraux Foundation recently reached a compromise with regard to the permanent servitude for the hospital.
In the past, some members of the Hospital Service District have been uncomfortable with language in the original servitude agreement that would allow developments other than the hospital to use the service road. Cavignac, though, said the hospital will require two lanes to be available for emergency access.
The Hospital Service District concedes the access road may, in the future, be shared between the hospital and other developments. After the compromise, though, the Meraux Foundation will be responsible for expanding the servitude when further development occurs, Cavignac said. That compromise made the servitude agreement more palatable for the Hospital Service District.
After the March 10 meeting, Frank Folino of the Franciscan MIssionaries of Our Lady Health System, the organization charged with managing the hospital, said he is excited at the rapidly developing hospital project.
“Twenty-four months and we should have [had] a hospital,” Folino said. “We’re excited we can now start to recruit physicians and develop a recruitment plan for the 200 or so positions at the hospital.”