- Associated Press - Thursday, November 12, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Mercy Medical Center plans to demolish an apartment complex at its Des Moines hospital, displacing more than 200 residents.

The Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/1HDffrF ) reports hospital officials said Wednesday that the Mercy Park apartments will be demolished to make room for more inpatient facilities. Officials say they have not decided when the demolition will happen, but residents have been given more than 10 months to move before the complex is closed in September.

The complex includes 202 rental units in four six-story buildings. Demolishing the apartments would clear up about 4.5 acres of land to the east of the hospital. Hospital officials say the buildings, constructed in the 1970s, were not designed for today’s standards which call for larger patient rooms and more uniform floor plans.

Eric Burmeister, executive director of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund, called the decision to close Mercy Park “a blow to affordable housing.”

“If I were a hospital administrator, I would see (the apartments) as an asset,” he said.

Laura Vanden Bosch director of public relations and marketing for Mercy Medical Center, said a housing specialist has been hired to help residents find a new place to live. She also said the hospital is offering up to $1,000 off rent to cover moving expenses.

“We wanted to give residents lots of time to review their options and make a decision,” she said.

Vanden Bosch says the decision to close the complex was difficult, but the hospital’s core mission is to provide health care and they need to create facilities to do that.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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