DANVILLE — There have been a lot of health care changes locally in the last couple years and Carle representatives on Wednesday announced another large change expected to come at the end of 2021.
The development is still contingent on property availability, zoning and state approval of a Certificate of Need.
Carle plans to consolidate its North Vermilion and Fairchild streets facilities and ambulance service on Franklin Street into a new Carle Danville Medical Campus located west of the downtown area from Logan Avenue on the west and which part of the street is proposed to be closed just north of North Street for the campus to span both sides of Logan Avenue, Robinson Street to the west, North Street on the south and Madison Street to the north.
The estimated up to $50 million development will better accommodate patients in Danville, Vermilion County and surrounding communities, Carle officials said Wednesday.
Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. during a Wednesday press conference at the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, attended by Carle and local representatives including aldermen, city staff and local construction and union representatives, said it was hard for him to keep this secret “because I live literally across the street (on Madison Street) from this development.”
He said neighbors would ask about it and say they’ve heard it is this or that and try to guess what it was. He said they finally got the right company but not the right iteration.
“We are very excited that Carle has decided to build a great development here in our community,” Williams said.
Williams said it’s going to clean up a blighted neighborhood and give hope to the adjacent neighborhoods. He said this and the Fischer Theatre also are two things that are going to help revitalize the downtown.
He said he’s also excited about the jobs. He said although this is a consolidation, there will be new jobs. Carle representatives said they will be recruiting more providers, however, they said new jobs haven’t been identified yet.
Carle has about 200 local employees and sees about 45,000 annual patient visits, according to Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen.
Williams and Carle representatives said the development will overlook Ellsworth Park and take advantage of the natural resources. This project ties into the redevelopment that will be completed at Ellsworth Park, Williams said.
He said oncology patients could look onto Ellsworth Park and the river.
“This is an exciting project. We’re very excited about this endeavor,” said Caleb Miller, Carle senior vice president, primary care and specialty care services.
It was two years ago they started talking about what does a medical campus look like in Danville.
The proposed project and redevelopment area is continuing to evolve, Miller said.
“This is a large area to get redeveloped,” he said.
He said the development proposal spans about 17 acres, consolidating Carle facilities at 311 W. Fairchild St. and 2300 N. Vermilion St.
All primary care, preventative and specialty care services, which will continue to grow, will be on one medical campus, he said. The proposed development will expand outpatient services into a single, multipurpose campus that features primary, surgical and specialty care.
A likely two-level building is planned to span Logan Avenue north of Riverview Pediatrics. Access also will remain for the Dwight Alan Salon across from the pediatrician’s office.
Another site that won’t be impacted is the Vermilion County Museum at 116 N. Gilbert St. Carle is to incorporate the facility into its campus design.
Williams said Leon’s Diner also won’t be impacted.
“It is a happy day,” Haugen said.
Haugen said health care is a key cornerstone for Danville and Vermilion County.
“This is a major turning point for our community to continue to grow that,” she said. “It is a game-changer for the center part of this city.”
Haugen said the development will improve an entry corridor into the city, with a high-tech, state-of-the-art facility.
She said the project reinforces taking the time for economic development, and it is expected to trickle down into other economic growth.
Haugen said five sites for the campus were looked at. Miller said this site was selected in part by looking at space for services and multiple buildings, traffic patterns, exposure, bus lines and other aspects. The number of buildings to be constructed still is in development, with Miller saying, for example, the surgical center will be a separate section.
Future development could head east, but with businesses on Gilbert remaining.
“This made sense,” Miller said about the campus location.
Williams said the city already owned about 15 vacant lots for the land and about 66 parcels needed. About 30-40 demolitions of structures will be needed, he said.
Williams said officials called the project “Clean Slate” and demolitions could start as early as around December and the end of the year.
In addition to some residents needing to be relocated, Nick Crompton, Carle executive director, facilities planning and construction, said they are still working with business sites that may be impacted.
Miller said their job as a health care company is to be a good partner and neighbor.
“We believe this project is an opportunity to benefit the Danville community and all those we serve. As always, we intend to be a good steward of the community’s health care resources and provide more accessible services to those who need it,” according to Miller. “We appreciate the partnership with Vermilion Advantage, the Vermilion County Land Bank, the City of Danville and Mayor Williams’ support as we move through this process.”
Carle has been leasing the building on Fairchild Street since 2006. The lease will conclude and provide an opportunity to repurpose it for someone else. The facility on Vermilion Street would be available for sale, and Carle Arrow Ambulance services will relocate to the new campus.
Miller said they don’t want to leave vacant buildings in the community.
Other health care changes in the last two years have included OSF Urgo, an urgent care clinic for people on the go, which opened last month on North Vermilion Street.
Danville Polyclinic became a part of OSF HealthCare in April 2019.
Earlier this year it was announced Carle’s Danville on Vermilion Clinic and Ambulatory Surgery Center was to expand its outpatient surgical services.
Carle officials stated “because Danville-area residents need additional outpatient surgical services close to home, Carle in July (2018) gained state approval to add surgical services to its roster. While urology services are in place now, Carle looks to phase in other new outpatient services in Danville to meet patients’ needs in the next few years. We will share information as staffing and service details take shape.”
The project was to add equipment and services to the existing space on North Vermilion Street, officials stated.
Carle Danville on Fairchild also expanded its local Convenient Care Plus in 2018.
It also was 2018 when Danville’s hospital changed names again. OSF HealthCare acquired Presence United Samaritans Medical Center, which became OSF HealthCare Sacred Heart Medical Center.