Lander Medical Clinic seeks City’s support for $3M in new facility grant requests

Tuesday night Dr. Ryan Firth addressed the Lander City Council at a public hearing on a Lander Medical Clinic (LMC) application to the Wyoming Business Council. Representing himself and 3 other partner/owners of the LMC, he requested the City of Lander “sponsor” them for a $3 million grant/loan. The grant is part of the Wyoming Business Council’s Business Ready Community Program. Future efforts will involve working with the Lander Economic Development Association (LEDA) to seek $1 million in grant funding from the Federal Economic Development Administration. Sponsorship, in this request, involves acknowledged support from the City. As it relates to loan repayment, there are no obligations to the municipality as a result of supporting this application.

The Project

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LMC is wanting to build a new medical healthcare facility at the Enterprise Park (state land) close to the Wyoming Life Resource Center, Union Cellular and Central Wyoming College – Lander campus. Their stated hope is to be a “welcoming, patient-friendly, multi-specialty medical facility” that retains patients in Lander for their health care needs. Along with associated assistants and administrative staff, they’re targeting the hire of 5 – 6 additional providers in the next year and an additional 6 – 7  in the following 2 – 3 years.

The overriding reason why the city should consider partnering with us is all the community benefits that a new medical facility would bring to Lander. Primarily, keeping patients in Lander. – Dr. Ryan Firth

The Fly in the Medical Ointment

Dr. Troy Jones, Lander General Practitioner

However, not everyone agrees that the City should sponsor this effort, or more specifically, that state dollars should be used in the private sector when competition already exists. During the public comment phase, Dr. Troy Jones spoke on behalf of the risk that this would put on his existing practice and other practices in the community.

Not the proper role of government to manipulate or favor one enterprise over another competing enterprise. – Dr. Troy Jones

City Council President, Cade Maestas injected clarifications for those in attendance about the process. He emphasized that the applicant for the funds must be a municipality or other government entity. He informed that any organization in the community that felt they wanted to tap into these resources has the same opportunity to seek support from the City for this application. “As a Councilman, I want to find every opportunity that we can,” added Maestas. “We’re not making the decision to give this money or not, we’re making the decision to support a community group that is asking for state funds.” Maestas’s position is that it’s the SLIB board that is in the best position to make the determination regarding the request.

“If this was coming out of City general funds, this would be an easy ‘no’ for me.” – Councilman Cade Maestas

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