The Waxahachie City Council affirmed its commitment to help Hope Clinic, a federally qualified community health center, expand with a dedication of land at its Monday night meeting. The five-acre tract will allow Hope to move from its landlocked location on East Jefferson Street to a new location north of the police station on Coleman Street.

City Manager Michael Scott told the council it has become difficult for Hope to serve its growing clientele base from its existing location.

“Discussions have been had about the city donating a tract of land to Hope Clinic to allow them to construct a new facility,” Scott wrote in a memo to the council. “Based on preliminary designs, the tract would be five acres and accommodate a 25,000 square foot building (that could be expanded by another 15,000 square feet). The design would be a complement to the architecture of the police building and be constructed from similar toned materials.”

The commitment allows Hope to move forward with surveying and construction planning, with legal documents brought back to the council for adoption once the survey work is done.

As a federally qualified health center, Hope sees patients regardless of income status or ability to pay. Hope was founded in 1999 as the faith-based, not-for-profit corporation, Ellis County Coalition for Health Options. It provides comprehensive health care services for the entire family at its main site in Waxahachie and a second site in Ennis.

Hope CEO Barbara Clark addressed the council about the needs that are being seen.

“I would just like to say that our growth in Hope Clinic has really grown in the past few years,” she said. “We saw 8,400 patients last year in 2018. Seven-thousand of those were in Waxahachie.

“We are packed on each other (in the current facility) and this opportunity gives us a place to expand for the growth that is going to be in Ellis County,” she said. “We appreciate this and it is very much needed as we serve our future growth.”

Clark said the current facility on East Jefferson Street will be put up for sale once vacated. If everything goes smoothly, it is anticipated Hope will be in its new facility by the middle of 2021.

Council member Chuck Beatty expressed his concern about opening up a Pandora’s box relating to other nonprofits with the approval of this item.

Mayor Pro Tem Mary Lou Shipley made the motion to the approval of the item and it was seconded by council member Melissa Olson. Mayor David Hill voted for the measure with council members Kevin Strength and Beatty voting against.

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