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Leaders in Kimball want new clinic

KIMBALL —The city of Kimball is working to keep and expand the health care services available to its residents.

“We’d like to keep what Sanford’s doing right now — but in a new building,” City Councilman Jesse Baker said.

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Baker is the city council liaison to a committee created by Mayor Wayne Tupper earlier this year to explore building a new clinic.

The Kimball Community Medical Clinic at 109 N. Main St. is operated by Sanford Health, but it needs updating and repairs, Baker said.

Committee member Dayle Blasius said Drs. John Jones and Frank Bieberly, and businessman Terry Casey, recently donated the present clinic building to the Lake Francis Case Development Corp., a nonprofit entity that also owns an empty 50-by-135-foot lot next to the existing clinic.

Baker said the new clinic will be built on the empty lot and the old clinic will be razed once the new clinic is up and running. Uses for the original clinic site are still under discussion, he said.

Baker said the city is negotiating with both Sanford and Avera for expanded health services at the new clinic building.

“We don’t want to lose what we have,” he said, “but our goal is to have a provider here five days a week.”

The current clinic is open two full-time and two part-time days each week.

Last summer, the city enlisted the aid of Planning and Development District III, in Yankton, to create sketch plans for a new building.

“We’re kind of just in the planning stages at this time and we’re getting into the process of raising money,” said Maynard Konechne, president of the development corporation and a member of the clinic committee. “We feel it’s time for a new building if we’re to maintain health care services in our community.”

Eric Ambroson, a community development specialist with the planning district, said he helped the city develop a tentative vision for a new clinic based on a general rural clinic design. The 3,000-square-foot plan he presented allows for future expansion.

“A lot of times towns don’t have the means to develop a picture for what they want to do,” Ambroson said. His renderings give towns a basic plan they can use as a promotional piece to communicate their vision for a project. It’s a starting place, Ambroson said, and does not replace the need for architectural services.

Kimball’s goal follows in the path of Kennebec, which lost its health care clinic when Sanford Health pulled up stakes — and the clinic building itself — and left town. Community activists worked out a plan that raised money for a new clinic building and a new partnership with Avera.

Baker said Kimball started a community fund drive about two weeks ago to raise money for the new clinic. At least $500,000 will be needed. The city of Kimball donated $30,000 of the $60,000 raised to date, Baker said.