August 24, 2014 (Telluride, CO) — The Telluride Hospital District announced this week an extension of the deadline for a Town of Telluride Request for Information (RFI) submission until August 27, this in response to last week’s decision by Telluride town council to put a non-binding measure on the November ballot asking voters to choose from three public uses for an undeveloped parcel of the Pearl Property.
In a statement delivered to Telluride attorney Kevin Geiger, THD extended the RFI deadline but declined to delay the site selection process, unless the RFI proved the town parcel to be a viable location.
“If the town site proves to be a competitive site based on many criteria, then delaying the site selection process may be appropriate,” said THD Board President, Larry Mallard. The THD had received three RFI site proposals from the Town of Mountain Village, the Lawson Hill Property Owners Association and Big Dog Holdings, LLC in Lawson Hill by the June 23 deadline.
The town of Telluride did not submit a response to the RFI but instead submitted a letter stating it could not adhere to the hospital district's timeline because it didn’t permit meaningful community discussion on the use of the RV lot.
“Without hard data on the RV lot, we’re hard pressed to evaluate the site alongside the three site proposals we’ve received,” said Mallard.
The August 27 deadline for the town’s proposal is meant to keep THD on their current long scheduled site selection process, which would have an announcement about a preferred site in early September, months before a November election.
If the site selection process was delayed to wait for election results without an opportunity to evaluate the Pearl Property alongside the other site submissions, Mallard maintains the THD would face proposal expirations from other stakeholders, a particularly devastating scenario should the town property not prove to be a workable site or if voters decided on one of the other two public uses, a recreation center or affordable housing.
THD has long maintained that the pressure to find a new site for a regional medical center is two fold: the medical center has outgrown the current facility and the potential locations for a new center are ever dwindling.
The course of identifying a new location for the Telluride Medical Center began in 2006 when THD Board of Directors began actively pursuing options for a new facility.
This past March, THD issued a formal RFI to five regional landowners — the RV lot in the Town of Telluride, two separate lots in Lawson Hill and two separate lots in Mountain Village — and their corresponding private and governmental jurisdictions.
The Telluride RV lot on Mahoney Drive’s Pearl Property joined the list of viable options after Proposition 2D handily passed in last November’s election. The measure designated the lot as one to be used for public use such as a new regional medical center.
According to Mallard, as part of THD transparency efforts and to ensure landowners understood and endorsed the RFI process, a briefing was held for landowners on March 3, before the formal RFI was issued. THD met with landowners again on June 16 to again allow for feedback on the process. RFI responses were summarized and presented to a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) made up of nine regional residents in July and then presented to the public at a forum held earlier this month at the Sheridan Opera House.
The site selection public forum, which provided the community with an opportunity to review site proposals, is archived and available for viewing at tellmed.org.
This CAC – a group chosen by THD to represent unbiased voices from the community, specifically from those with experience in architecture, engineering and construction – has been asked to evaluate these proposals and provide feedback on site suitability, cost, fundraising, future growth and risk. The CAC includes Ron Allred, Bill Atwell, Erik Dalton, Bunny Freidus, Bill Hoins, Don Kramer, Dan Tishman, Johnnie Stevens and Jodi Wright.
An RFI from the Town of Telluride would be made conditional upon the favorable results of the November election as well as the conclusion of mutually agreeable negotiations.
“At the end of the day, the sole goal and objective is to identify and secure a superior site to accommodate the new regional medical center and to get the facility funded, built and operation to meet the health needs of the region,” said Mallard.