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Groundbreaking celebrates new Coulee City clinic, library

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | May 14, 2024 12:40 AM

COULEE CITY — Construction could begin this year on the first phase of a project to build a new medical clinic and library in Coulee City. Local officials held a groundbreaking for the project May 10.

Officials from the Town of Coulee City and the Port of Coulee City have been working on obtaining funding to build new facilities for the library and clinic, an effort that dates back to 2015, according to a press release from the port.

The new medical clinic will be the first phase; with the library, along with additional improvements to the clinic, in the second phase. City and port officials have requested federal funding to help pay for the second phase, the press release said. 

Port and town officials have raised about $1.8 million in state funding for the project, and the port has added about $500,000 of its own funds. About $900,000 has been allocated for the project through the Strategic Infrastructure Project fund from Grant County.

“In total, over $3 million in state and local funds has been raised, which will complete the first of two buildings of this new medical center and library project,” the press release said.

The new facility will be about a block down Main Street from the existing Coulee City Public Library, and about three blocks from the existing Coulee City Medical Clinic. 

April Harward, the Coulee City branch librarian, said in an interview the new library actually will have less square footage, but will use space more efficiently and in ways that better accommodate the needs of contemporary library patrons.

The library currently shares its space at 405 West Main St. with a fitness center, insurance office and massage therapist. The building’s arched windows and mix of brick and native stone are an indication it’s a Coulee City oldtimer.

“It’s had a lot of lives,” Harvard said. 

The medical clinic also shares space, in this case with the Port of Coulee City, in a building constructed during World War II.

“(The clinic) was originally set up in the 1970s and is too small and understaffed to support the area’s current needs,” the press release said. “The new proposed medical center would work in conjunction with neighboring hospitals in Grant County as well as with Grant County Mental Health to provide a hub and spoke system of care, including transitioning of care, education and direct referrals when needed.”

Port Commission Chair Travis Liening expressed appreciation to state and county officials for their assistance raising the money, citing 12th District Representatives Mike Steele and Keith Goehner, Seventh District Senator Shelly Short and Grant County Commissioners Cindy Carter, Rob Jones and Danny Stone for their help in obtaining funding. 

Short and Stone both helped turn the first shovels of dirt on the project, along with 13th District Representatives Tom Dent and Alex Ybarra, Port commissioners Liening, Joy Beardsley and Howard McDonald, Coulee City Mayor ShirleyRae Maes and Brant Mayo, executive director of the Grant County Economic Development Council.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.