Wednesday was supposed to be the finale of the Marshfield Clinic hospital proposal saga.
The Oneida County Planning and Development Committee had scheduled Wednesday to be the day they deliberated on the conditional use permit application for Marshfield Clinic's proposed 12-bed, $30 million hospital.
The committee had asked Marshfield Clinic to respond to a list of questions, and the 93-page response was emailed just after 5 p.m. last Friday, but most committee members did not see it until Monday.
At that point chairman Scott Holewinski spoke with the county zoning director Karl Jennrich and decided to push back the deliberation date until the committee had a chance to thoroughly review the new materials.
"I haven't even gone through it all," Holewinski said. "Plus I found where Karl said, 'Here are all the emails.' So we're off by over 200 emails between the two of us. At the public hearing he said, 'Here's a list of all the opposed and all the fors.' Well I have 56 of them that I have that he doesn't, and there's 50-something that he has that I don't have. So we're going to get it so we all have the same emails. Then on Friday we got the 93-page document from Marshfield that I didn't get until Monday, I haven't even read that yet. Then we have the court report. There might be more questions coming up."
The committee decided to choose tentative dates that could be used as the day to make a deliberation, both to be held in Minocqua.
The committee chose 12 p.m. on May 31 and 6 p.m. on June 8. Neither is a finalized date, but the committee expects to have a more final date at Wednesday's meeting.
For Marshfield Clinic, the process has been delayed on multiple occasions, but that has not soured them in any way.
"It's all part of the process and we just have to let the process work itself out," Marshfield Clinic regional medical director Bill Melms said. "We'll be prepared on the 24th to come back and they may or may not ask us questions. They may just set the date, but there's not a lot we can do about it."
One could postulate the committee is dragging its feet on making a decision, or that it is taking advantage of all available material to make the most informed decision possible.
Marshfield Clinic representatives believe the latter to be true and the group is prepared to do what's necessary.
"I expect that they are just doing due diligence," Melms said. "They do have a large volume of material that they have to review now, so we all respect that they have to take their time to do that."
On a side note, supervisor Billy Fried had proposed a question at a prior meeting as whether Marshfield Clinic would name its hospital Howard Young if Ascension stopped providing medical care in the area.
There is a $50 million trust tied to the Howard Young name being on a hospital in the area.
Melms stated he had spoken with senior officials in Marshfield Clinic and if the response was that they would indeed at the Howard Young name to the hospital if necessary.
Nick Sabato may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @SabatoNick.