Hospital moving out of city for expansion

PAINESVILLE, Ohio (AP) - Lake Hospital System announced it is buying more than 30 acres and will move LakeEast Hospital about five miles south of the city.
The new, unnamed hospital is expected to cost at least $50 million, which includes the cost of purchasing the Concord Township land. The move will occur within seven years.
For Painesville, losing LakeEast will cost $1 million a year in income taxes, utility payments and fees, City Manager Rita McMahon said.
"It will be a huge loss," she said. "It baffles me that in a time when people are investing in urban renewal they would choose to leave the city."
Hospital officials said Thursday that the move will give them an opportunity to build a modern facility within a 15-minute drive of more Lake County residents. The new hospital will be located near the Interstate 90 and Ohio 44 interchange.
Steve Karns, Lake Hospital System senior vice president of administrative services, said the Concord Township site offers ease of access for residents and room to expand in the future.
"It's also an excellent site for attracting physicians and caregivers that commute longer distances," he said.
Hospital and city officials have formed a 10-member committee to find other uses for the old hospital near downtown or to redevelop the property.
Concord Township Trustee Caroline Luhta said the township welcomes the move.
"I've heard nothing but positive comments from residents," she said.
Lake Hospital System has seven facilities in Lake County, including LakeWest Hospital in Willoughby.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)