I Robert Armstrong: Public-private partnership could save LUH therapy pool

My experience as a member at the Longmont Hospital health and rehabilitation center confirms the many sentiments that you may have heard from others regarding the loss of the benefits of this wonderful facility when it closes at year end.

Over the years, the facility has been a godsend for me in navigating health issues of an aging body. It is a truly unique environment, especially for older people. It cannot be replicated by other, well intended organizations like the YMCA. It’s closing will be a great loss to the many people who are members, the staff — and I believe to the city of Longmont.

That said, I have a proposal that is intended to solve this problem, to the benefit of the Longmont community and Centura. Why not enter into a public-private partnership to keep the hospital pool and facility in place? This would involve the city of Longmont providing the funds to completely refurbish the existing therapy pool facility.

The city might also make a modest annual contribution to cover some of the pool maintenance and/or subsidize some of the ongoing operations of the greater health care facility. In exchange, Centura would pledge to continue operations of the facility for another 20 or 30 years, in partnership with the city.

This approach would be the most cost-effective solution because it leverages the existing infrastructure at the hospital, rather than build a completely new building. It would provide a continuing revenue stream to the hospital from the continuation of membership fees, perhaps enhanced by charging more for memberships to people who live outside of Longmont.

Most importantly, It would perpetuate the advantages created by the community by the establishment of the facility. Dong this would also be a tangible statement about what the city values.

The Longmont City Council recently proposed an initiative to fund a $45 million pool and ice rink facility. The voters did not approve of this, many of whom expressed concern that it did not coincide with more important issues.

The 2020 city budget amounts to $353 million. The execution of my proposal would cost a very small fraction of the pool and ice rink initiative. The money to do it might be found by prioritizing some of the $353 million on hand for 2020. Where there is a will, there is a way.

If you are concerned about the loss of the health facility at Longmont United Hospital, I would urge you to contact your City Council members and ask them to help save this facility.

Perhaps you will find council members with the wisdom to understand this loss to the community and the compassion to step forward and find a solution that preserves the facility’s uniqueness and values, long established by the hospital’s founders.


Source: Timescall