September 1, 2014

Elyria
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LifeCare plans $500,000 project in Elyria

ELYRIA — Longtime provider of emergency medical services in Elyria and beyond, LifeCare Ambulance Inc. is planning to expand its footprint in Elyria with a $500,000 building project.

The West Avenue ambulance station has been around for at least 20 years. LifeCare President Pete de la Porte said it’s time for an update. A renovation project is slated for next year.

“We are not tearing the whole thing down, but we are planning to make it a nicer and bigger station,” he said.

The $500,000 price tag is just an estimate, de la Porte said. Plans have yet to be submitted to the city Planning Commission and are subject to change.

“But we know what we want to do. This is something we wanted to do for a while and now seems like the right time,” de la Porte said. “Also, it shows we are committed to Elyria and the people.”

The plan is to turn the three-bay building into a more modern, six-bay facility. Currently, six ambulances are primarily housed on West Avenue.

The project is an important investment for the city of Elyria, not just from an economic development standpoint, but also in terms of safety. The construction timetable is a caveat of the yet-to-be signed contract between the city and Elyria. It is the difference between a three-year and five-year agreement between LifeCare and the city.

If the project starts by May 30, 2015, and is completed by May 30, 2016, the agreement will run for five years — terminating in 2019.

If the project doesn’t stick to that timetable, the contract is up in 2017.

Brinda said it was discussed in terms of LifeCare making a long-term investment in the city.

“We were interested in trying to leverage that investment on behalf of both organizations,” she said.

De la Porte said it was never seen as a deal breaker or sticking point during negotiations.

“We were confident we were going to do it anyway so it made no difference,” he said.

The construction will not stop operations at the facility as it will be done in phases to keep paramedics working.

LifeCare employs about 200 people in Lorain County and operates six stations in Elyria, Amherst and Avon.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.