PLAQUEMINE — A new health- care clinic for westside residents came a step closer to reality Tuesday night when the Iberville Parish Council set for public hearing an ordinance to purchase land for its location.
If all the details can be worked out, the proposed Ochsner Medical Clinic could be built on 18 to 20 acres of land south of Plaquemine along La. 1 near the Math, Science and Arts Academy-West, Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. said.
So far, it “looks promising,” he said.
The council set an ordinance, “to Acquire Property for Health Care Facility and in Alternative to Expropriate Property for Health Care Facility,” for public hearing for Aug. 16, at 6 p.m.
The “expropriate property” clause was added by the property owners, Ourso said, “for tax purposes. The parish has no intention of expropriating the property. We don’t want anybody to say we’re rolling over anybody to get their property.”
If this particular property doesn’t work out, Ourso said, there are other alternative sites, but he did not elaborate.
A resolution authorizing the parish president to enter into a cooperative agreement with Ochsner Clinic Foundation/Ochsner Medical Center, LLC, was also approved.
Federal hurricane disaster funds will be used to purchase the property, the building and the clinic equipment, Ourso said, which will then be leased back to Ochsner.
Scott Stassi, the parish attorney, said no architectural drawings or plans were available yet, because they would be tailored to whatever land parcel is purchased.
Council Chairman Matthew H. Jewell said after the meeting, “I think it’s a win-win situation.”
The clinic, which would include a 24-hour emergency room, radiology, midwife services and a laboratory, would replace the River West Medical Center that was shuttered after it was damaged during Hurricane Gustav in 2008.
The council met in a closed-door executive session for 25 minutes prior to the regular meeting to iron out some legal questions with Ochsner representatives. About two dozen residents attended the meeting.
Other matters before the council included:
ORDINANCES OK’D: The council approved an ordinance reducing the speed limit on Kirtley Drive from 35 mph to 25 mph, an ordinance setting parish millage rates at 15.27 mills, and an ordinance setting millage rates for Water District No. 4 at 9.93 mills.