2011-03-03 / Front Page

Hospital Funding Assured

Mackinac Straits Health System will receive a $4.5 million federal loan to complete the long-term care facility, administrators learned Friday, February 25.

The loan was originally approved in 2010, but the construction project was stalled October 1 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture could not allocate the funding owing to a lack of money available.

Construction resumed October 15 after hospital administrators learned that their loan application would be considered in the new fiscal year. In the interim, Granger Construction agreed to fund the project while the hospital looked for funding to pay off the construction of the new building.

“It’s really putting the dot at the end of the sentence,” Rod Nelson, CEO for the hospital, said Friday. “I can breathe easier now that I heard we got the funding.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow and former Representative Bart Stupak supported the funding for the hospital. Senator Stabenow now serves as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, which has jurisdiction over rural development projects.

“From the beginning of this effort, I have been proud to partner with the community, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of the Chippewa Indians, and the hospital to create this facility that is so vital to St. Ignace and the surrounding areas,” Senator Stabenow said when she announced the funding Friday.

Mr. Nelson told The St. Ignace News that he was able to thank Rep. Stupak and Senator Stabenow’s former and current aides for their help with securing the loan.

The hospital will continue its efforts to secure the remaining $500,000 cost of the project from its foundation, through grants and foundations throughout the region.

The 48-bed facility now under construction on North State Street will replace the facility currently in use at the old hospital site on Burdette Street.

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