It may be safe to say the Hot Springs Clinic will soon be reconstructed after months of fundraising and hoping.
“We have all the funding in place,” clinic fundraising committee chair Sharon Flesch said. “Last week, the Sanders County Community Development Corporation agreed to loan the clinic board – should we need it – the remaining money we need. We’re are within thirty thousand dollars out from our goal.”
The SCCDC pledged the amount to the Hot Springs Clinic Board and the paperwork has been sent to the Dept. of Commerce Community Block Development. The DCBD had originally granted the clinic fund the money for a new clinic; they had to come up with the matching amount in order to get a full go-ahead to construct. Back in December, the fundraising committee had a daunting $300K to raise; by January, a little over $123K left to raise, and now with the continued help of locals, fundraising events, and a will to reach the goal, just $30K officially remains.
“Though the funding is there, we really want to try to reach it ourselves,” Flesch said. “We’re trying to do this without indebting anyone, or our local taxpayers.”
The official paperwork will be sent into Helena on March 14, according to Flesch.
“We’re feeling pretty good about it,” Flesch said. “It’s been a really interesting thing and we’ve met a lot of interesting people. But it’s not over yet.”
Flesch recalled a certain key donators that recently stepped up to aid in the effort. Barb Gonder of Hot Springs, a woman who had made the very first contribution to the fund in its humble beginnings, also just made one of the last ones prior to this story going to press. Gonder had given $5,000 back in 2011, and just recently gave $55K to the clinic fund. Another woman, who had heard about the effort of the tiny clinic in the tiny town in rural Montana, called Flesch up recently and told her she wanted to give to the cause.
“She lives in Florida,” Flesch said. “Even though she’d never seen Hot Springs and had never even heard of it, she sent in a check of $2,500. It’s just amazing.”
While plans are underway for the reconstruction of the clinic, Flesch said the temporary clinic will be partly set up at the Century 21 office in Hot Springs, and the rest of the temporary clinic will be set up in a trailer provided by Clark Fork Valley Hospital.
“We still have a few more fundraising events we’ll be doing,” Flesch said. “The talent show, and a country barbecue. The people have just been amazing. Even the kids from 4-H are baking cookies, cleaning up after our events – it’s really been a community effort.”