The Port of Coulee City and Town of Coulee City jointly celebrated the groundbreaking for their new medical center and library.

The Medical Center and Library Project broke ground on Friday. State Sen. Shelly Short (R-Addy), State Rep. Tom Dent (R-Moses Lake) and State Rep. Alex Ybarra (R-Quincy) were among the highest-profile officeholders in attendance.

According to a press release, these facilities will be situated at the "northeast corner of West Main Street and North Third Street" in Coulee City.

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Every stage of the construction life cycle is distinctly daunting. The issuance of permits is one such challenge. Coulee City is dealing with that right now, according to the press release.

But in his remarks at the groundbreaking, Port Commissioner Travis Liening was upbeat. He thanked Sen. Short as well State Rep. Keith Goehner (R-Dryden) and State Rep. Mike Steele (R-Chelan) for their bureaucratic dexterity - without which the first structure may not have been built. (Goehner is running to replace outgoing State Sen. Brad Hawkins in the 12th legislative district.)

About a quarter of the funding for this project came from the Grant County Strategic Infrastructure Program. Additionally, the Port of Coulee City and Town of Coulee City managed to secure a few million in state funding. And part of the bill was footed by the Port itself.

The existing medical clinic and library were both identified as retrograde and unfit to "meet the area's current needs." The medical clinic in particular was housed in an old-fashioned banquet hall; patients had been shuffling in and out of the cramped banquet hall for decades.

Access to medical care is notoriously spotty in rural communities like Coulee City (pop. 549). A stunning 80% of rural America is "medically underserved."

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