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Hospital on prowl for more parking

December 15,2017

Doc’s Drive-In plans move to Main and Willis

Kaweah Delta is on the prowl for more parking around their busy Downtown Visalia campus says CEO Gary Herbst.”We bought the Checkers and Doc’s Drive-In property, both on Acequia, some time ago and they know it’s just a matter of time before we need the space.”

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 12.33.31 PMDoc’s owner Junior Muharram is not waiting around to make plans. The business has purchased a long vacant parcel on Main Street and Willis, a former gas station in the old days, that has sat empty for decades and is best known for the 1940’s, nostalgic CocaCola mural on a old brick wall as well as a Korean War mural.

Junior says they hope to be under construction by June and open by the end of next summer. The eatery features typical favorites, hamburgers, pastrami sandwiches as well as Mexican food.

“We will still be called Doc’s” even though it won’t be right next to the hospital.The new layout will include a walk-up window as well indoor and outdoor dining, adds Junior.

Meanwhile the hospital expects it will be able to park about 30 cars at the site, the corner of West and Acequia, once the building comes down says Herbst.

The site, the former Taco Bell, would mean there would be continuous surface parking on both sides, space the busy medical center needs with all the growth underway and the surge in demand by patients

Visalia hospital campus and Masonic Temple bed

Visalia hospital campus and Masonic Temple building

Growth & Demand Spurs Need

On the Downtown campus the ER expansion is well underway as well as the construction in-fill of 5th and 6th floor of the Acequia wing. That project will require a new construction staging area says Herbst, removing more needed parking places even as demand is up.

Winter demand is up this year due to surge in respiratory aliments as well as the loss of care in Tulare with the closure of the hospital there.

Herbst is urging the community to use the Kaweah Delta’s Urgent Care and Prompt Care and other walk-in clinics for most ailments like the flu or even a broken limb and use the ER for more serious issues.

And they are. The district’s Court St Urgent Care Center recently set a record – seeing 270 patient in one day.

Back Downtown, more valet parking is planned to meet the need and a new fenced physician parking area is in the works as doctors struggle to find a parking place eager to attend to their patients. The number of docs now affiliated with Kaweah is up and the addition as many as 121 resident docs working for the district adds more pressure.

With little hope for additional parking garages, more surface parking is the only option left, says Herbst.

This month the hospital’s property acquisition committee is looking at more land on all sides of the hospital their agenda indicates.According to the latest agenda this week, the hospital is considering acquisition of the former Shell station site on Noble and Locust, the Masonic Temple property at Mineral King and Locust,  and the Tom Mitts medical building on Acequia at West.

“Some of those properties are under active appraisal’” confirms Herbst.

Meanwhile a fire last month at KD owned Checkers hamburgers may set in motion the demolition of this building as well.

 

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