The fate of Flagstaff’s hospital will be decided during next week’s election

Flagstaff residents will vote to decide if the local hospital is relocated or not.
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 6:10 PM MST
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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Flagstaff Medical Center currently sits just north of downtown but Northern Arizona Healthcare is trying to move it 7 miles south to build a larger, more modern facility. The City Council approved the move over the summer, but the group Flagstaff Community First said it’s just not necessary.

So they gathered enough signatures to put Proposition 480 on the ballot for next week’s election. “It would reverse the City Council’s decision to renovate to highway commercial out near our county park Fort Tuthill,” Stefan Sommer with Flagstaff Community First said. “Spending almost a billion dollars out in the outskirts of town to build a hospital that we just don’t need.”

One of their concerns with the move is phase two, which could bring other businesses outside of just the hospital. “The whole mega development plan, almost a billion dollars, is closely intertwined with phase two, which is hotels, and retail and all sorts of things way in the outskirts of town,” Sommer said. “This is the right location.”

NAH has said phase 2 still needs to be approved by the City Council. Prop. 480 opponents are also concerned about what will happen to the current space of the hospital, the new location being further from town, staffing for a larger facility, and fear of increased health care costs.

The current facility is the only level-one trauma center north of Phoenix. NAH says the new facility would provide better health care to Northern Arizona’s growing population.

The first phase would cost $800 million and NAH would foot the bill. NAH CEO Dave Cheney said a no vote means they will have to look outside of Flagstaff to find another place to build, and they say, that will delay hospital advancements by years.

However, the no side said there is another solution. “We really should be following the 2019 renovation plan,” Sommer said, “which showed that this campus could not only be renovated but that it has room for expansion if that’s ever needed.”

Election Day is Nov. 7, and voters can find where to drop their ballots here. For more information on each side’s view, you can learn more about a vote yes here and a vote no here.

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