Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Star hides owner of Wanona Hospital property

Published in today's Metro section of the Star (based on this blog post of theirs), the Indianapolis Star finally reports on the long neglected property of the former Wanona Memorial Hospital, now owned by the city of Indianapolis.

What they don't publish is that the city of Indianapolis is the current owner. What they do say is it's "legally abandoned" and no one would pay the $2 million in taxes during an auction. And the Indianapolis Land Bank will take ownership on Oct. 16. What they don't say is the city purchased it for $1 in 2007.

As WRTV reported in July, the city has ignored the property since they stopped training SWAT teams there in late 2008, and declared it unusable due to asbestos poisoning. They didn't even bother locking the doors or boarding it up. The building has obvious signs that people are sleeping there, and before the story hit, it was infiltrated by a citizen and he took pictures.

When I visited the property a few weeks after the story hit, the doors were locked and ground entrances were boarded up. But I found a crowbar near one of the entrances, and the overgrown shrubs easily reached the broken windows, providing a clear entrance. The building is not secure, and if this was owned by a private citizen, they'd be written up by the city for not maintaining their property.

But it is a very clever strategy. Let this building, which housed sick people (and cured them!) until 2004 deteroriate so that it has no possible use as a medical facility, bulldoze it, and put in a brand new project that some well connected contractor will get. Because we've gotta keep those construction jobs in the city!

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