Demolishing the now-vacant Palm Beach County Health Care District nursing home building will cost at least $632,000, but which government agency should dig into its budget to tear it down?
The county owns the land and the building at 45th Street and Australian Avenue in West Palm Beach, but the Health Care District has been running it since 1995. The issue will be discussed Wednesday at the special taxing district’s May board meeting.
Health Care District staff are recommending the two government agencies split the check.
Parts of the old nursing home are nearly 100 years old, dating back to a time when the single-story building served as the county’s poor house. The old structure is best demolished, county staff said.
The Health Care District moved its 90-plus nursing home residents to the agency’s new, $25 million nursing home at Military Trail and Blue Heron Boulevard in Riviera Beach in April. Since then, it has been paying about $29,000 a month to keep up with the utilities, insurance and landscaping bills in the county’s vacant building.
The district’s handling of the nursing home move became controversial after the district snubbed free county land next door to its old county home in favor of nearly shovel-ready real estate, owned in part by its own real estate agent, for over $4 million.
The nursing home serves mostly low-income uninsured people that commercial nursing homes won’t take, usually for lack of insurance.
The Health Care District has been managing the county home since 1995, when it agreed to take on the responsibility for at least 40 years in return for county payments of $15 million a year.