Aug 20, 2023

$200,000 in RACP funds still available for Evangelical Community Hospital

Evangelical Community Hospital’s PRIME expansion opened in 2020.

LEWISBURG — The Union County Commissioners approved an amended agreement with the Union County Hospital Authority and Evangelical Community Hospital for $900,000 in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant funding.

At Tuesday’s public meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved splitting the grant money, which was approved in July 2022, into two phases. The first phase entails the $700,000 HVAC chiller replacement project and the second phase will entail a yet-to-be-determined $200,000 project.

“This is simply taking what we originally approved as a one-phase project and splitting it into two,” said Commissioner Chair Jeff Reber. “There is no new money available.”

RACP is a commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.

RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs.

Chief Clerk Susan Greene said the Office of the Budget requested the re-wording of the agreement.

The county is the host municipality or conduit of the grant. The Hospital Authority recommended the first phase and will recommend the second phase project, according to commissioners.

The support is a requirement for a recipient to receive RCAP funds, and also protects the county from liability if there is any ineligible use of funds, according to commissioners.

As part of their application process for a grant, they requested and received county approval to apply for the grant, which is a condition of the grant. Once awarded, the hospital, not the county, would receive and administer the grant, according to commissioners.

The RACP grant is related to Evangelical’s efforts to replace an aging, inefficient 500-ton steam absorber chiller with an upsized 750-ton magnetic bearing chiller, according to Michael Redding, director of marketing and communications at Evangelical.

“This will not only improve efficiency but will also increase the capacity of the hospital’s chilled water system for the main campus and Professional Office Building, as well as provide redundancy under emergency power,” said Redding when the RACP funds were approved last year.

Redding last year said no emergency-powered chilled water was available prior to this project.