NEWS

Commissioners move toward demolition of Fairfax property

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

Osage County commissioners decided Monday to move ahead once more with the process of seeking bids for the demolition and cleanup of a dilapidated former commercial structure in downtown Fairfax.

District 3 Commissioner Darren McKinney said that despite county officials having “bent over backward” to allow the Osage Nation and other parties to work on potential plans to take what’s left of the property and develop it into something economically productive, it seemed that interested parties “can’t come up with anything.”

McKinney noted that a medical clinic next door to the dilapidated property has expressed anxiety about its condition.

Terry Loftis, a general contractor who has worked with the county in regard to the downtown Fairfax property, said Monday that if there are any new bidders this time around on the demolition and cleanup work, arrangements should be made for representatives of those companies to actually view the site before bids are opened and the job is awarded. The commissioners decided to use the same bid solicitation package that they did previously. The county board voted 3-0 to move ahead with the process of seeking bids for the demolition of the old Big Hill property.

In late January, the principal chief of the Osage Nation addressed the commissioners about the Big Hill property, and then arranged for a presentation about it before an Osage Nation congressional committee. Prospects for some kind of economic development project seemed promising at the time.

In other news from Fairfax, the new owners and managers of the Fairfax Community Hospital have put out the word they have a detailed plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and considerable professional resources to bring to bear on the health crisis.

Carl Laffoon, of First Physicians Capital Group of Oklahoma City, a management company that is helping to provide leadership for the Fairfax hospital, told the Journal-Capital on March 26 that everyone entering the hosptial — physicians, other staff and patients — were being screened. Visitation had been eliminated and elective procedures had been postponed.

Laffoon, who is interim CEO of the Fairfax hospital, said a triage center had been set up outside the hospital and some individuals had been tested for COVID-19, but as of that time no positive test results had come back based on those tests, and there were no COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

Laffoon said First Phsicians Capital Group has an epidemiologist, an infectious disease physician, and an infection control specialist who can provide specialized services to help Fairfax Community Hospital as it strives to help the surrounding community cope with COVID-19.