Oskaloosa sells former Harvey’s Hardware building
by Dennis Sharkey
Oskaloosa residents soon won’t have to travel out of town to pick up prescription medications.
City Council members voted 3-0 with new member Emily Malsbury abstaining to sell the old Harvey’s Hardware building to the Jefferson County Memorial Hospital Foundation.
According to F.W. Huston Medical Center CEO LaMont Cook the foundation has plans for opening a full service medical pharmacy with a retail operation. Comparably the store would carry items similar to big chain stores such as Walgreens or CVS.
“We feel like we’ve got a great opportunity for Oskaloosa,” Cook said. “And for us as well.
“You can plan on it resembling a typical pharmacy,” he later added.
Construction on the project would begin as soon as the sale of the building closes with a target date of no later than Feb. 27.
Two bids have been sought for a remodeling project and Cook said they are ready to hit the ground running.
Only half of the building will be used for the pharmacy. No plans have been finalized for the other half.
Cook said the foundation board is looking for ideas or products that are not currently being served by another business.
Other ideas include a photo kiosk or a durable medical equipment retail operation.
Currently Oskaloosa residents must travel to Valley Falls, Meriden or Winchester to have prescriptions filled. Foundation Board member Tammy Gigstad said about 50 percent of the hospital pharmacy business comes from the Oskaloosa area.
The foundation also has plans for the basement that hopefully include the city police department remaining. Cook said there are no plans for any retail operations and that if the city was not occupying the basement he would look to lease out the area. Cook said he would like the city to remain and lease the garage for $1 a year.
“I would love to have a police car parked in my garage,” Cook said. “There’s some value there.”
The sale price for the building was $65,000. It’s about $55,000 less than what the city had been asking for the building and much less than what the city paid.
“The hard part is the half price offer,” Councilman Gary Bryant said. “That’s the hard part.”
Councilwoman Kathy Griffin concurred but said at some point the city needs to move on from the building when a business is willing to move in. The building is currently off the tax rolls and sitting empty.
“We need to think about the whole picture,” Griffin said. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity. Sometimes you have to not only look at what you’re losing but what you’re gaining.”
Cook said even though the foundation is a not-for-profit the pharmacy would be on the tax rolls because it is a retail operation.
City Councilman John Norman said if the city could work out a long term agreement for the basement the city could build a secure police department office and solve another issue facing the city.
“It’s been a need for quite a while,” Norman said.
Norman said he has visited with several residents about the building. He said overwhelmingly they want to see business on the square.
“I think they would find it a very positive thing to do,” Norman said. “I’m not blowing smoke. I’ve been to homes to visit with them.”
Malsbury abstained from the vote because she is a licensed agent for Pia Friend Realty. Friend will be paid a six percent or $3,900 commission for the sale.
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