New medical examiner's facility will not be pursued through partnership

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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In a work session Wednesday, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors decided on a 3-2 vote not to pursue the idea of creating a new medical-examiner facility in partnership with a private developer.

The need for a new medical examiner’s facility has been an issue for eight years, said Supervisor Janelle Rettig.

Currently, the medical examiner’s offices and equipment are spread out over two facilities and the ambulances are parked in the garage next door.

A seventh ambulance will arrive in a few months, and Rettig said the Ambulance Service will have no choice but to park it outside because of the lack of room.

Rettig, who voted against the proposal, said although she is not against a public and private partnership, she is opposed to postponing public safety.

“I just don’t believe that kind of money is ready to be invested down here,” she said.

The proposed facility could have been up to 15 stories high, included residential and commercial facilities, space for the county’s ambulances and medical examiner’s offices, and cost $50 million, significantly more than the estimated $3 million that a simple medical examiner’s facility would cost.

“Every couple of months, there’s another idea, and it puts us further and further away from actually accomplishing anything and this is just one more,” Rettig said. “But I think we should get serious about addressing the ambulance and medical examiner [building].”

by Ben Marks

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