Justus eager for new space with razing of health building

Justus eager for new space with razing of health building
Dave Mast

The view from inside the aging and abandoned former Holmes County Health Department building near Pomerene Hospital paints a forlorn picture of the aging process on the building. Pomerene Hospital will have plenty of options in creating a beautiful new space once the building is razed.


The demolition of the former Holmes County Health Department building located next to Pomerene Hospital in Millersburg will create a new view for hospital employees and visitors alike, and according to Jason Justus, Pomerene Hospital CEO, the thought of creating something both pleasing to the eye and useful as space is something to anticipate.

“It’s been a long time coming, and it is going to make a really positive impact to the aesthetics to our property,” Justus said. “The most exciting part is going to be creating something that is aesthetically beautiful that will add to the overall presence of our facility. I think in a month or two people who come in will have a pretty stark new reality of the property, but we will create something beautiful as soon as we can.”

Much of the area will be devoted to additional parking, which is an issue the hospital continues to have a great need for. Justus said a couple of the retaining walls will need to remain near the base of the pad, so that pad and the retaining walls will remain in place for parking.

He said the hospital has recently added an additional 40 parking spots to the north side of the facility, creating even more parking spaces.

“It’s going to make a major difference for our visitors and our employees,” Justus said. “We can also use it for maintenance trucks and transportation service vehicles, and we want to be able to better meet all of the parking needs that make it more convenient for everyone by creating closer parking spaces.”

The building is being razed as part of the county’s demolition grant funding from the state, thus creating an opportunity for the hospital to have the building removed without the expense.

Justus said when he was contacted by Holmes County planning commissioner Arnie Oliver about the demolition funding available, it was far too good to pass on, especially since this project has been in discussion for a couple of years.

“We’ve been working over the past few months to basically take advantage of the offer from the Holmes County commissioners to help remove the old health department building,” Justus said. “We are anxious to get that project underway.”

The demolition process should begin within the next month or two, and once it begins, it won’t take long to clear out not only the building, but also the extensive wildlife growth that has taken place around the building over the decades.

“What people are going to see is the creation of not only additional parking, but a move to much more green space all around that area, and directly across the street, when we take down the Woodlawn house, all of that area will also be devoted to green space,” Justus said. “All of a sudden the whole aesthetics will look significantly better and make the outside of the hospital so much more appealing. It is going to be such a stark contrast to what people have been used to seeing for so long when they pull into the driveway.”

He said the view for patients residing on the south side of the hospital also will be much more inviting.

Being able to create something that is designed to suit the hospital’s theme and add to the functional aspect with parking is something Justus said has been desired for many years.

He said they will do their best to design something special, and this summer can’t come quickly enough as far as razing the current building.

“We are extremely grateful for the invitation inviting us to take advantage of the remaining grant dollars,” Justus said. “Thanks go to the county commissioners and to Mr. Oliver, and Susan Moore from the Ohio Regional Development Corporation has been great to work with.”

Oliver said the former health department building is so well known that it will serve as a perfect example of everything the state-funded demolition grant dollars hope to accomplish in creating green space and improving the appeal of communities.

Justus agreed, noting there is a certain amount of nostalgia connected with the building, and there should be plenty of interest from the public in watching as it is torn down later this summer.

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