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CITY COUNCIL MEETING 09/08/14 (Hospital Healing Garden, Police Hires)

Hospital Plans Healing Garden
By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY
September 9, 2014

A healing garden is planned for the back side of the new Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe, directly east of the facility. Chillicothe City Council members listened to a presentation about the plans and viewed a proposed design of the garden during a workshop meeting Monday evening, September 8, 2014, in the council chambers at City Hall. Hospital representatives along with Kay Young and Chris Dring, of Young and Dring Landscape Architecture, of Overland Park, Kansas, made the presentation. It is planned that the garden would include a variety of smaller gardens with various plantings, terraces, paths, a water fountain and a gravity-driven rill to provide a place for quiet contemplation, physical therapy and stress reduction to be utilized and enjoyed by hospital staff and patients as well as members of the public.

Fundraising efforts for the privately-funded garden are in the early stages; however, Matt Wenzel, HMC's CEO, announced that the Hedrick Foundation has already pledged $25,000 for the project and the hospital has pledged $120,000 (most of which came from proceeds of the surplus auction held earlier this year). As proposed, the healing garden is anticipated to cost more than $1 million. Wenzel said that the goal is to create something dramatic. Mirroring the process taken when plans were developed for the new hospital, hospital officials surveyed employees and asked them to identify their desires regarding the garden. The hospital officials will be visiting with community members next week during town hall meetings. These meetings will be held on Monday, September 15 and Thursday, September 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of Hedrick Medical Center. 

The area available for development is estimated at 3.2 acres and plans call for utilizing around 2 acres. The garden area would be accessible mainly through the hospital lobby but would likely have other access points. After next week's town hall meetings, it is anticipated that the final design can be developed and cost estimates identified. It is hoped that work could begin as early as next spring or summer, said Lindy Chapman, the hospital's foundation development officer. Wenzel said he would like to see the project completed at one time, but said that he realizes that if funding is not available, the garden could be completed in phases. Young and Dring Landscape Architecture's past projects have included work for the Kansas City Chiefs, the Power and Light District, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Following the council's workshop Monday evening, the council conducted its regular semimonthly meeting, addressing routine matters such as paying invoices and approving the minutes. Mayor Chuck Haney presided over the meeting with all but Councilman Paul Howard in attendance. An executive session followed the regular meeting, at which time the council approved with 4-0 votes the hiring of Chris Mueller and Jacob Peterson as full-time police officers.

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