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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake Shore Hosp Authority

Lake Shore Hosp Auth: $230,000 downtown eyesore may fall. Where are the doctors?

Generator shop debris
The Generator Shop debris. An attractive nuisance and eyesore that has been ignored by Lake City. Manager Berry, "It’s not causin’ any problems."

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Monday night's Lake Shore Hospital Authority meeting had the Old Generator Shop located in the heart of down town Lake City once again percolating to the top of the Authority's discussion as board member Stephen Douglas kicked off a conversation on the future of the $230,000 albatross. Discussions with Authority Manager Berry's doctor contacts had apparently fizzed.

Board member, Stephen Douglas, having missed the last Authority meeting discussion of the Old Generator Shop inquired, "I keep asking about that."

More LSHA stories are here.
More on the Generator Shop begins here

Manager Berry again failed to have the plans available at the meeting and made no effort to retrieve them from his office, a short way down the hall. "We have plans in the office," he said.

It is not clear why Manager Berry is keeping the plans out of the public eye and away from at least one board member. No board member has mentioned seeing the plans which cost thousands.

Mr. Douglas followed up, "Is there anything going on with that site?"

$450,000 - $500,000 to build on spec

Stephen Douglas
Authority Board member Stephen Douglas is speaking out.

After the May meeting, Manager Berry was going to try to get in touch with a doctor who had shown an interest. "At this point I don’t have a doctor to go in it. If the Board wishes to build a spec office we can build one, but that cost is going to be between $450k-500k to build a building."

Mr. Douglas asked, "And use the existing building?"

Manager Berry explained, "You are going to have to tear that existing building down and use the slab." Mr. Berry said he believed the building would be 3,334 sq. ft. With the planned addition the building is 4,376 sq. ft.

Mr. Douglas mused that the scenarios that the Authority was looking at did not include the building.

Manager Berry jumped in, "It includes the foundation. The problem you got. I know what you’re fixin’ to say. Why don’t we tear the buildin’ down?"

Mr. Douglas said he thought it made sense to demolish the building.

Manager Berry didn't see a need to demolish the building. "If we tear that buildin’ down you’re gonna have people and kids jumpin’ up and down on that slab and somebody's gonna fall and hurt their self and then we’re gonna wind up in a law suit. If we leave the buildin’ right there where it’s at, in my opinion, it’s not causin’ any problems."

Mr. Douglas wasn't satisfied, "For me it's an eyesore. Every time I go through there or by there you got the bathroom door facing Franklin kicked open."

Manager Berry addressed the bathroom, "Well I nailed it shut three times and they keep kickin’ it open, for what I don’t know."

Mr. Douglas, "If we’re not going to use it, let's"

Manager Berry cut him off, "It's fine with me."

Dr. Waseem Khan
Board Chairman Dr. Waseem contemplating the evening's business.

Board Chairman Dr. Waseem Khan, "I agree. I see the same thing on the corner."

Board member Mark Vann agreed, "I agree a hundred percent."

Mr. Vann wanted to get a letter from the City stating that if the slab is left the new construction project would be considered a remodel by the City. It is not clear how that would apply if the Authority sold the property.

Manager Berry was going to check with the City before the building is demolished.

Epilogue

HMA/Shands CEO Rhonda Sherrod announced that the hospital has a new doctor coming on board and that they are renting this doctor space in one of the buildings leased from the Authority.

Manager Berry did not mention a word about the doctors he had purportedly been in discussion with, nor did any Board member ask.

Old habits die hard.

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