As MyHighPlains.com was first to report last week, a fire at the old St. Anthony’s Hospital in northwest Amarillo prompted a three-alarm response.
Now, the non-profit which owns the building is trying to move forward.
Saint Anthony’s Legacy and Redevelopment Corp. (SALARC) is working with community partners to secure the premises. They hope doing so will prevent further accidents as they work to bring the old hospital back to life.
We are told the cause of the fire is still unknown. Officials said the fire was contained to the southwest corner of the old hospital.
SALARC board members told us the Amarillo Fire Department has turned the building back over to them, although they have a long road ahead.
“We know there are people sleeping in there,” said Mary Emeny, SALARC Board Chair. “We know there’s all kinds of stuff going on in there, so getting the place secure so that we can actually start something new is our first job.”
While the fire did cause quite a disruption, the non-profit still has grand plans for the property.
They hope the community will take ownership of the project.
“Once it’s online, we plan to have, you know, redevelopment in all sense of the word because this building means a lot to a lot of people,” said Board Member Mildred Darton. “A lot of people were born here. Their lives were saved here, so we’re helping that they will jump on board.”
Emeny said in addition to bringing jobs to the Amarillo area, they hope to work with Northwest Texas Hospital System to add an urgent care to the property.
“We definitely want entrepreneurial business opportunities, job opportunities, education opportunities, places for kids,” Emeny said. “We’d love to have representatives of offices of all the different organizations that serve the communities up here. I mean, these are all pie in the sky ideas at this point.”
In the meantime, they encourage community members to take an interest in the redevelopment of the old hospital by reporting trespassers and working to keep the building safe.
Darton, who also serves as the president of the North Heights Advisory Association, said when the old hospital was in business, the community was thriving.
“I see us having satellite offices so that some of the people in the neighborhood without transportation…Social security satellite office, DMV, health and human services, emergency services…Everything that a community needs,” Darton said.