Updated: Monday, 11 Mar 2013, 7:11 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 08 Mar 2013, 11:46 PM EST
VINCENNES, IND. (WTHI) - A southern Indiana county finds it is once again the owner of a large, damaged former hospital.
The old Hillcrest Hospital building has been returned to Knox County, but it is in worse shape than ever.
The county sees demolition as the only solution for the old building.
The old Hillcrest building once again belongs to Knox County.
A not-for-profit organization received the property 5 years ago to turn it into senior housing, but the project failed.
"It would have been perfect up here on the top of the hill, a beautiful setting for senior housing." said Knox County Commissioner Don Halter. "It would have been great. It's just one of those things that didn't work out."
Not only did the project fall apart, but so has the building.
Vandals have broken out nearly every window, and the inside is falling apart.
"It just jumps out at me, it's a safety hazard and we've got to do something to make it secure," said Halter. "I pull up here today with you and I see that someone has pulled some plywood off and they've made entry again, so this building needs to come down and go away."
The county wants to tear down the building, but estimates are running in excess of $200,000.
Officials are seeking a grant to help cover the cost.
While the demolition of the building is pretty certain, the future of the property isn't.
The county could hold onto it and make it part of the adjoining Hillcrest Park, or they could turn around and sell it and try to recover some of the cost of tearing it down.
"It would cover quite a bit I would assume," said Halter. "Like I said if you look around it's a beautiful piece of property."
Property that would have much more value if the old hospital was no longer there.
County officials say the speed of the demolition will depend on how quickly a grant can be obtained to help pay for the work.
They hope to bring the building down later this year.
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