RICHMOND, Ind.- The City of Richmond is back at square one after failing a third time to sell the old Reid Memorial Hospital, which was closed almost a decade ago when the new Reid Hospital was built. As the building sits in a horrible state of disrepair with no prospect of anyone buying it, the safety and environmental concerns about it are growing.
It’s the kind of place where time seems to have stopped; nature is taking back over and where the broken facade of a once imposing hospital, seems to long for its glory days. Reid Memorial Hospital has sat like this since 2008 and while it’s patients have long since checked out, its visitors keep coming, much to the chagrin of local authorities.
“A lot of people enter the structure, looking for adventure, or whatever,” said Mike Davis of the Richmond Fire Department, “but truly it’s an incredibly dangerous situation in there.”
Many are wondering what they should do now. Last week, the county tried to auction off the property for a third time, again with no success. And while it looks like something out of a Hollywood horror movie, the real terror is how much it could cost taxpayers.
“We have some early estimates that we need to spend $2 million - $4 million to clean up the environmental problems, and then eight to ten or as much as twelve million dollars, to remediate the property and to demolish the building,” said City Councilman-at-large Dr. Ronald Oler.
He says Richmond and Wayne County have been working to come up with the best option for everyone; however, the developable land is only valued at just over $2 million.
“Someone will have to take a loss and it’s most likely going to be the taxpayers, which is unfortunate,” said Oler.
Since 2008, the property has changed owners several times, with the most recent developer essentially walking away, leaving building and its 66 acres in limbo. Aside from environmental concerns, it’s become a hotspot for the homeless and urban explorers. Recently a group of trespassing teens fell through a rotten floor and had to be rescued.
As it stands now, no good plan exists and Oler says authorities will likely meet again this year to talk about their options.