Building a path that leads directly from Main Street to the hospital will not only provide easy access for emergency crews, it's a step forward in the hospital's goal toward becoming a state-of-the-art facility, says Russell Judd, Payson Regional Medical Center's chief executive officer.
Judd said he has completed a deal with Russell Maughan of Rim Living, an Arizona-based company with interests in the Payson area, to connect the Beeline Highway to the hospital at Mariposa Lane.
The agreement paves the way for a new medical office building and access to a new wing at the hospital for more beds and an obstetrics department.
"We are still in the design process," Judd said Thursday. "The developer purchased the old Pioneer Lounge and the hospital contributed over half the necessary funds."
Judd declined to say what was paid for the property, calling it "an undisclosed amount."
Maughan already owned about nine acres of wooded property he wanted to develop, but needed the property on Main Street to obtain access to the Beeline Highway.
"To get the Main Street end, we needed a small piece of property and had to buy the Pioneer Lounge," Judd said. "We only needed a sliver, but had to acquire that piece."
Judd said the East Main Street extension off the Beeline Highway will provide better access for ambulances. It will also allow for the development of a medical office building which will be located near the hospital.
"The new wing is currently under design," he said, "and that will be accessed by the proposed East Main extension."
Judd said he did not know how long it would be before the East Main Street extension is completed.
"We're doing it as quick as we can get it done," he said. "The town will have to approve the design. Our responsibility is to pay for the construction and we'll then give the street to the town."
Town Manager Rich Underkofler said the East Main Street extension will be treated "like any other development project in town.
"Developers build the roads to town standards, after which we will accept them for maintenance. There's no financial participation from the town."
Judd said the plan to extend Main Street east from the Beeline Highway is a project that has been in the works "for years."
Rim Living needed a partner to develop its nine acres of land in the area, and "we were in a position to be that partner," Judd said.
"The developer gets Main Street through his land and we get better access to the hospital. It's a win-win situation for both of us."