Renison pushing for federal money to construct rural health-care facility

July 22, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — With or without the cooperation of the Heffernan Memorial Hospital District, this city should apply for federal money to build a rural health-care facility, according to Mayor Pro Tem John Renison.

"We as a council are ultimately responsible for the health care of our constituents," Renison said Friday.

City Manager Richard Inman said he will work to secure federal funds as soon as he is given specific direction from the City Council.

"I know that when we (city staffers) had a retreat awhile back with the City Council we had discussions about getting a facility here," Inman said.

"Now I hear there is more specific federal funding, but I have to take my lead from what the council directs before we can attempt to apply for it.


"Ideally, I think we'd like to see an acute-care hospital built here but at this point I don't know how economically feasible a full-fledged hospital would be," he said.

However, if Calexico continues to grow at the pace it has in the past few years, Inman said planning for a hospital would allow this City Council to be the agency to lay the foundation for the future."Eventually it is conceivable that Calexico could support an acute-care hospital. Now is the appropriate time to lay the groundwork," he said.

That groundwork would be laid with federal funds, Inman stressed.

"We can't do it alone," he said.

To secure federal dollars, "I'd think we need to have a strong presence in Washington."

That presence "has to include" Congressman Duncan Hunter and U.S. senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, according to Inman.

Renison said a contact in Feinstein's office should be willing to help Calexico.

Eduardo Rivera, attorney for the hospital district, supports the city's plans but hopes the city works with the hospital district board for the benefit of the community.

"A coordination of efforts would strengthen any application for funding," he said.

He added: "It is something the trustees would love to discuss with Renison or anyone else."

If the city is successful in securing funding, Rivera said the existing Calexico Hospital building, closed since late 1997, could be used as a municipal office building.

In the meantime, Rivera said hospital district trustees will continue working with Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo to open an after-hours clinic in the building.

Any agreement with Clinicas is dependent on the results of a seismic study on the hospital building, he said.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles