Lee County could see a new Health Department and EMS bay ahead

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 7:03 PM CDT
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FORT MADISON (WGEM) - After more than two decades of discussion, Lee County could soon see a new home for their Health Department and emergency medical services in the near future.

The county has received $6.5 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, better known as ARPA, since 2020.

The ARPA committee meets regularly to determine how that money will be distributed throughout the community.

Board of Supervisors and ARPA Committee chair Garry Seyb thinks the funding should go to a new combined home for the Lee County Health Department and emergency medical services.

“I think it’s a great partnership between the two groups. It’ll also maximize the dollars and the construction costs again having those both located at the same area”, Seyb said.

While this has been a discussion in the community for years, Seyb said the new funding could make the project a reality.

“It’s been decades that we tried to get a health department built. The ARPA funds have given us an opportunity to realize that goal,” Seyb said.

Lee County EMS Director Dennis Cosby expects between 4,800 and 5,000 calls for emergency medical services by the end of 2022.

With so many calls, the county is in need of more paramedics.

If more staff members were to be hired, the current facility would not have room to house them all.

“If we were able to hire the staff tomorrow, which in our current climate, it’s hard to find paramedics. But if we were able to, we wouldn’t have any place to put them,” Cosby said.

Along with the ability to hire more staff the relocation might also help with call response times, potentially keeping Lee County residents safer.

“They’ve also discussed putting a stoplight such as what you see with Fort Madison Fire, where we’ll be able to control the light and stop the traffic for when the ambulance is entering and exiting, make things much safer,” Cosby said.

The Board of Supervisors met earlier today to determine if the ARPA funds should be delegated solely to a new Health Department and EMS Facility.

Concerns were raised over whether some of those funds could be used to help finalize the current Fort Madison Marina Project and other community projects.

A final decision was not reached.

The Board of Supervisors will meet again next week to determine how much funding will go toward the Health Department and EMS construction.

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