Angels Camp site to be negotiated with hospital

Two locations in Calaveras County may soon be developed into comprehensive health care clinics, if all goes according to the plans of the county’s health care district and hospital.

Public entity Mark Twain Health Care District hopes to snag a property in Valley Springs. Mark Twain Medical Center – the hospital corporation run by Dignity Health – is now in real estate negotiation with Angels Camp for its 5-acre plot at 200 Monte Verda St. The property currently includes the command center for the city’s police department, and it is yet unclear how much of the property Mark Twain Medical Center is seeking to buy.

Tuesday’s Angels Camp City Council meeting, which was cancelled on Monday, was scheduled to include a conference with real estate negotiators on the property’s price and terms of payment. City Manager Michael McHatten declined to comment on item, which will be discussed in closed session at a later date.

As for the Valley Springs site, a pre-planning meeting on Feb. 17 will gather all the key players: representatives from Mark Twain Health Care District, Caltrans, Calaveras County and Calaveras County Water District, as well as Marvin Stark, the owner of the property.

The 14-acre open site on the corner of Highway 26 and Vista del Lago Drive currently houses a barn, an old residence and a smattering of trees. In 2007, the spacious lot was considered for a new shopping center.

“It got quite a ways down the road and then the recession took it away,” said health care district Executive Director Daymon Doss, who acquired the pre-development documents from Stark. “I think it’ll make a wonderful location for the new health care center.”

The site would need to be rezoned, but traffic is not likely to be an issue, Doss said. He added that the health care district was told Caltrans plans to place a stop light at the corner of Highway 26 and Vista del Lago, further aiding in circulation.

And that’s good news to the health care district, which suffered two failed attempts to develop a new clinic in Angels Camp – first by Mark Twain Elementary School and more recently on Dogtown Road by the intersection of Highways 4 and 49. After the recent Dogtown Road denial, the health care district moved its attention to Valley Springs.

“You look at growth in Calaveras County, and that’s one of the areas that continues to grow,” Doss explained. “We already have a clinic there that is well-overcrowded – on the same corner across the street – and we see the opportunity to really expand services in Valley Springs.”

The potential site in Valley Springs could essentially triple the size of the clinic and increase services offered in town to include laboratory work, radiology, family practice and a rotating lineup of specialists, Doss said.

The potential Valley Springs clinic would likely look similar to the proposed design of the Dogtown Road project – a two-story, 15,000-foot, modern edifice with natural landscaping. The health care district has hired a contractor with Aspen Street Architects in Angels Camp to compile visuals for the Feb. 17 pre-planning meeting.

“It’s a building very, very similar to the one we were looking at in Angels Camp,” Doss said. “If the Planning Commission and county are comfortable with it, that may be exactly what it looks like.”

To help secure the purchase – at a price yet to be determined, Doss said – and also fund the building's eventual construction, the health care district is pursuing a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture of about $5 million with a 30-year amortization.

At the Jan. 28 health care district meeting, Doss told the board of directors that Calaveras County representatives’ primary concerns have been adequate access “so the rest of the properties can be developed in a thoughtful way.”

The Feb. 17 meeting will also iron out the details of the building plan. Once the health care district has an understanding of the county’s wish list, it can proceed with the studies and documents that must be completed prior to construction.

“There are a lot of moving pieces here relatively soon,” said the health care district’s newly installed President Peter Oliver.

Oliver suggested the real estate ad-hoc committee – comprising board directors Dr. Randy Smart and Ken McInturf – compile an executive summary about the USDA loan and purchase information in advance of a health care district special session, when the board will discuss this potential purchase. It has not yet been determined whether the session will be a closed or open meeting.

Doss is hopeful that copious pre-planning meetings will prove fruitful.

“This is the major effort that we’re working on right now,” Doss said. “We’re looking forward to that (Feb. 17) meeting because it will give clear direction to us on what we need from the county in order to move forward.”

Contact Alicia Castro at alicia@calaverasenterprise.com or call 498.2053.

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