County Debates Future of Former Ambulance Garage

In the months leading up to the opening of the new EMS center, the county is debating what to do with the ambulance garage located on the property owned by the Door County Medical Center.

The county’s lease with the hospital for the land was signed in 1990 and extends to 2040.

Corporation Counsel Grant Thomas offered two distinct options with plenty of space to negotiate in between.

“We keep the lease and continue permissible uses of the improvements or we seek to terminate the lease early,” said Thomas.

Permissible uses for the property are restricted to emergency services, which could change if the hospital agrees. The county would then operate the building for the remaining 13 years of the lease before vacating.

Property Committee member Dan Austad suggested that county administrator Ken Pabich and buildings and grounds department head Wayne Spritka negotiate with the hospital to purchase the building.

“It would be nice if they say we’ll buy the building from you for what it’s worth… I don’t think we should turn that building over lock, stock and barrel for nothing,” Austad said.

Brian Stephens, chief administrative officer with Door County Medical Center, said the organization would be happy to sit down and discuss a deal.

“We have really considered this a very positive relationship over the years,” Stephens said. “I don’t see any problem with sitting down and talking. We see it as a total win over the years and want to continue that positive relationship.”

As the landowner, the hospital does have the upper hand in negotiations as they are not obligated to pay the county anything for the building should the county vacate it.

Placing a new EMS building on county-owned property was a deliberate move to avoid these negotiations in the future.

Spritka said the county had a number of capital improvements scheduled for the ambulance garage on the hospital property but did not do them in anticipation of building a new center.

Although the new building should be complete in 2018, EMS services will not be completely transferred for several months.

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