Lyons Health Center Building ownership transfers to City of Dowagiac

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, November 18, 2023

DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac City Council approved a resolution Monday authorizing the payoff of bonds on the Lyons Health Center Building, 520 Main St., so the city can receive title to the property.

In 2006, the city worked closely with Van Buren Cass Health Department and Van Buren Cass Community Health Properties to finance and construct a 20,000 sq. ft. medical facility at 520 Main St., known as the Donald Lyons Health Center. The building was large enough to support health department needs as well as needs of Ascension Borgess for clinic space. One of the rights of the city included in this transaction is that ownership of the building would be transferred to the city when the debt were paid in full.

As both operations grew, the health department moved locations and Ascension leased the entire building. The Ascension lease is expiring soon and Ascension has made the decision to relocate their clinic space to the hospital.

According to City Manager Kevin Anderson, the decision creates an opportunity for the city to pay off the remaining bonds on the building, take ownership of the building and actively seek additional medical options that can serve the community. The building and medical offices are in excellent condition and are near move-in ready for new medical providers.

“I think it’s pretty common knowledge that Ascension has been retrenching in size of some of the operations that they have,” Anderson said. “They gave notification late this summer that they were going to no longer renew their lease. This would allow the city to pay off those bonds which would then automatically trigger the title transfer to us and then put us in that position where we can seek out additional suppliers… That allows us to continue to try to be very active and very committed to seeking out other health providers and try to bring quality health care and more health care options into the community.”

The outstanding bond is one million dollars which can be paid for by cashing invested funds that are held for capital project funding. The investments will be replenished as new leases are secured.

“If we take control of the building, we take control of our ability to manage health care in Dowagiac,” Mayor Don Lyons added.

In further business, the council approved appointments to th​​e Local Officers Compensation Commission. These appointments are for five-year terms expiring in December 2028. Dr. Charles Burling, Rebecca June Steenbeke and Hector Revas were appointed and Janet Feick was re-appointed.