Spirited discussion plagues old hospital
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 10:00 PM
You will have to forgive me if I am not optimistic about the future of the old Culver Union Hospital building at 306 Binford St., just across the railroad tracks from downtown Crawfordsville.
Frank Phillips has reported on the news, events and people of west-central Indiana for years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Usually, I try to use the space granted me for more optimistic thoughts, but a look through my notes from past years indicates work on the old hospital building has been moving slower than molasses in a Hoosier blizzard.
City officials have been talking about razing the building since 2004, 20 years after the new hospital was built on U.S. 231, north of town. The current owners had nothing to do with the old hospital on Binford Street.
In 2005, the building was deemed unsafe after Twin Oaks Housing Partnership, then owner of the building, failed to appear as requested at a Crawfordsville Board of Public Works meeting.
In 2007, The Metope Project Inc., bought the building from Twin Oaks Housing Partnership on June 29.
James Ayers, attorney for Metope, told this reporter the building used by the old hospital would include a dining room for all residents to use and the remodeled building would be aimed at retirees but there would be no age requirement for residents.
"They (Metope Project officials) came and saw the building," Ayers said. "They thought it was a shame it was being abandoned."
One big challenge stood in the way of Metope: Asbestos remediation. Metope intended to seek a grant to pay for asbestos removal.
In 2009, Indiana Environmental was awarded a contraction to remove asbestos. The bill was to be paid by Indiana Brownfields.
In the years since then, not only has the Binford Street building remained empty, there have been numerous calls to police because people were inside the building who had no business being there and a national TV show even used the building as the location for a story on haunted buildings.
Sure, I hope something can be done with the old hospital on Binford Street. It would be a good location for a park, parking lot or a new apartment building.