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SOUTH S.L. STREET ACCORD GIVES FHP GREEN LIGHT TO BUY LAND FOR HOSPITAL

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The City Council unanimously approved an agreement Wednesday night to turn over all public streets between Main and State Streets and from 2400 South to 2700 South to FHP health officials, who have announced plans to build a $45 million hospital in the area.

In an agreement executed Wednesday night, the council said it would vacate Oakland Avenue, Stratford Avenue, Crystal Avenue and Malvern Avenue once FHP owns all property located on these streets.The agreement says that if FHP acquires fee title to property on both sides of any of the mentioned streets or obtains the consent from property owners possibly affected, the city "shall vacate to the developer all right, title and interest of the city in and to such public streets."

The largest health organization in Utah, FHP - based in Fountain Valley, Calif. - expects to complete a 115- to 120-bed facility within two to four years in South Salt Lake.

South Salt Lake Mayor James W. Davis, said the council agreed to make the controversial move because FHP will provide "a real gateway to our community."

Davis said that because of the hospital's location, off I-80 and State street, it will bring an increase in development to the city. "We're hoping to build new homes and businesses in the adjacent neighborhoods."

The property in question involves approximately 70 businesses and homes. "We will do this when they (FHP officials) have purchased all the homes and businesses and have complete control, then the City Council will close these streets," Davis said.

A public hearing is expected to be conducted once FHP becomes the owner of the property in question. "We didn't close any streets tonight, we just agreed to do so if and when they purchase all of the property involved."

Davis said initially FHP officials were considering building their hospital on purchased property off 2100 South and Redwood Road, west of its existing center. However, that land wasn't large enough for the project and they've decided "this was a much more prominent location."

The mayor said FHP has also offered to buy approximately 30,000 square feet of land in which South Salt Lake government offices and main buildings currently operate, 2500 S. State Street. Davis said the city has accepted FHP's offer.

The proposed FHP hospital has been criticized in the past by health officials who maintain the Wasatch Front already has sufficient number of hospitals to meet health-care needs of the population. Another criticism to FHP's plan is that it would escalate health-care costs.