City approves tax abatement for health facility


HUNTINGBURG — By mid-April, the rest of the former St. Joseph’s Hospital in Huntingburg will open as a behavioral health facility that offers a variety of services, such as geriatric health care and care for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Renovations for Crossroads Behavioral Health continue, Dewayne Long of Assurance Health told the Huntingburg Common Council Tuesday evening. An important part of the project is the tax abatement that Huntingburg Partners requested from the city, he explained.

“The abatement is critical,” Long told the council. “With these old buildings, there are lots of surprises, and some construction problems.”

The project has already made many updates to the 51-year-old building in areas like plumbing and HVAC, Long said.

The council approved the abatement and a grant for the project. The abatement is at 100 percent and will last for 10 years, with a cap of $300,000. The grant is for $50,000. The terms of the grant stipulate that $25,000 will be given once $5 million has been spent, which has already happened, and the remaining $25,000 will be given at the project’s end.

Assurance is working for Dr. Ijaz Mahmood and Huntingburg Partners to complete the local facility. Mahmood, who is an oncologist and hematologist in Kentucky, said previously that the facility will offer services for people of all ages in different categories, such as veterans dealing with PTSD and the elderly dealing with dementia.

The facility will have 40 beds total, though there will be room for additional services in the future. The first phase of the project includes installing 16 beds for behavioral health geared to the elderly on the second floor, replacing an elevator, closing off a walkway tied to another building, and constructing other shared spaces for the facility, such as administrative offices, a kitchen and common area. The first phase will cost about $6.7 to $6.8 million; so far, $6 million has been spent, Long said.

The second phase will include 24 beds on the first floor and will focus on treatment for issues like addiction and substance abuse, as well as services for veterans dealing with PTSD. About $10 million will be spent on that phase, Long said.

St. Joseph’s Hospital was built in 1968 and closed in 2007. Part of the property was developed and opened in August 2016 as the The Lofts at St. Joseph’s, which has 45 apartments for seniors.

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