- Robert Lathers
What’s going on at Cutler Rd. and Grand River Ave.?
A large section of property at the corner of Cutler and Grand River has been the target of major excavation during the past week. The work is part of first phase of Sparrow Hospital’s agreement with the City of Portland to relocate and expand its primary care Sparrow Medical Group practice currently located on the opposite side of Grand River Ave. According to Portland City Manager, Tutt Gorman, “This is a long ongoing process” whereby the city has a purchase agreement from Sparrow Hospital for a five-acre section, of the City owned fifty-acre site. The City’s fifty acres currently includes the land extending up to the Nazarene Church property, then looping back behind Family Farm and Home, approximately to Gary’s Heating Service Inc., where it turns back to Grand River Ave.
Gorman explains, “This is a high-profile property considering its location and access roads of Cutler and Grand River Ave. Sparrow is only purchasing five acres for development of a new primary care clinic. The City agreed as part of the purchase agreement to build an access street up near the top of the hill. There is a pre-existing curb cut on Cutler Road. The City is building what amounts to a two-block long road that includes water, sewer and sidewalk. Then Sparrow over the next year or so is planning to build its new clinic off that road”.
Sparrow-Ionia Hospital CEO, William Roeser, who is also a Portland Resident and was responsible for the planning and building of Sparrow-Ionia’s new hospital in the past several years, reports that “Sparrow does not have a firm time deadline or a completion date for the new clinic at this time. However, Sparrow has a definite commitment to the Portland Community”. Roeser hopes the project will be completed “within a year or so”. When asked if the new facility will include a 24-hour Urgent Care unit, Roeser reported that it is not in the initial plans for this project. “That may not be financially feasible” he said, noting that Sparrow-Ionia Hospital has a 24-hour Emergency Room as does nearby Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. Roeser stated that this is going to be a “Nice, new clinic with expanded space, including capacity for additional primary care providers.” According to Roeser, if demand dramatically increases in the Portland community then additional Sparrow services may be considered.
Tutt Gorman reports that the City of Portland’s side of the agreement, which is site preparation primarily through the construction of the road, should be completed within six to eight weeks. Then it’s up to Sparrow to decide when to begin building. The Road will cost the city $630,000 and is being constructed by C&L Trucking of Ionia who submitted “the lowest bid” according to Gorman. The purchase agreement with Sparrow includes a purchase price to them for about $400,000. The remaining cost of the project, of approximately $230,000, will be paid for from city funds generated by the City Income Tax. All revenue generated from the city income tax is restricted to road construction and maintenance, so consequently according to Gorman, this project will not cost city tax payers any additional expense.
Gorman, points out that a key benefit of the site preparation and new road is that it will allow for additional development of the remaining 45 acres. “It’s a great site with additional potential” Gorman said, and noted that it provides yet another opportunity for economic development for the Portland Community. The Portland Planning Commission and the Portland City Commission have been very involved in the planning, development and approval of this project.