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Olivia to regain former hospital site: Residential development eyed for restored property

OLIVIA -- The city of Olivia will soon have prime residential property ready for development, just steps away from a golf course and yet smack-dab in the heart of its residential core.

Tom Cherveny / Tribune file photoThe old Renville County Hospital and Clinic facility in Olivia was removed last summer. Dave Rettman with DRC of Litchfield is at the controls in this June 2017 file photo.
Tom Cherveny / Tribune file photo The old Renville County Hospital and Clinic facility in Olivia was removed last summer. Dave Rettman with DRC of Litchfield is at the controls in this June 2017 file photo.

OLIVIA - The city of Olivia will soon have prime residential property ready for development, just steps away from a golf course and yet smack-dab in the heart of its residential core.

The Renville County Hospital and Clinics board of directors recently voted to convey its former hospital property back to the city of Olivia, Nate Blad, CEO of the county-owned hospital, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. The commissioners are expected to formally act on the transfer at their meeting Tuesday.

The original hospital and clinic occupied a city block on East Fairview Avenue. The hospital has removed the structures and restored the property to a green field to allow development.

It was part of an original agreement in which the city of Olivia oversaw a project to build a street and extend water and sewer utilities to accommodate the new RC Hospital and Clinics facility south of U.S. Highway 212 on the city's east side.

The project cost just over $1 million. The city took on the greatest share of the costs, roughly $550,000, and the hospital the remainder.

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"The city of Olivia really stepped up to the plate to help us with this project,'' Blad told the commissioners.

In return for the city support, the hospital had pledged to remove its old buildings and return the East Fairview Avenue site to the city. The site had been transferred by the city to Renville County when the "old" hospital was originally built in 1951. Renville County Attorney David Torgelson said it was recently discovered that the 1951 agreement included a reversionary clause that stated the land would revert to city ownership if no longer used for a hospital.

Blad told the commissioners that the city had been very patient in waiting for the land to be returned. The project to restore the site took longer than expected. The new hospital was opened in September 2015.

The city began to hear interest in the former hospital site for possible residential development before its buildings were removed. Olivia City Administrator Dan Coughlin said one developer has approached the city with a proposal to build a hybrid mix of townhouse and patio homes on the property.

The site is zoned for R2 residential development, which would allow either single-family or multi-family housing, Coughlin said.

The Olivia City Council has not taken any action at this point. With the conveyance of the property back to city ownership, he said the council can now explore its housing options in earnest.

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