Lincoln County Commissioners this week applied for a federal human services grant that, if awarded, would produce a new multi-story county health and human services center at the southwest corner of the Lincoln County Courthouse parking lot. Currently, county medical and mental health services are split between the 1010 building off South Coast Highway near the north end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge as well as facilities in South Beach. County Commissioner Bill Hall if the county wins the grant award, it would put all county medical and mental health services under one roof rather than having to send patients throughout the south end of Newport, not to mention the large number of construction jobs that would also be created by the grant. It would also put the county on better financial footing because the county would own the facilities outright, rather than having to pay rent. Hall said there are additional benefits from a centralized site; increased efficiency for staff and clients, moving the current South Beach operations out of the tsunami zone, improved program integration, more space and saving rent and lease savings of $120,000 a year.
Hall also said that the county has also applied for a half-million dollar federal grant to renovate the county-owned immunization, maternity case management and mental health services building immediately west of the courthouse, just across Nye. Hall says the current facility needs new furniture, carpets, flooring, heating system repairs and replacements, paint, equipment and energy conserving windows. A half million would go a long way toward accomplishing that. If the county gets the grant, work on the facility would begin around May 1st.