Watertown Officials Look At Mercy Building's Future

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As Mercy Care Center gets closer to closing its doors, Watertown officials say they fear it could be an eyesore for the city if the current owners don't take care of the property.

"We're gonna have a whole list of security concerns about people getting inside, deterioration, possibility of fires, anything could happen in something that size," said Mayor Jeff Graham.

To keep anything from happening, Don Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Local Development Corporation, is trying to see if there is a way to take over the mortgage on Mercy.

Rutherford says that would give the WLDC the ability to do a feasibility test on the building.

"It would give us an idea of what the building could be used for going forward, its highest and best reuse," he said.

Rutherford says once officials know what the building can be used for, they can try to attract developers.

Another issue when the Mercy Care Center closes is what to do with the current employees.

Mercy has around 200 employees now.

Some of them will be going to work at Samaritan Medical Center.

"Some of the folks are just going to retire. They spent their lives at Mercy," said Kathy Tucker, union representative.

Tucker calls it a sad end to a place that many call home.

Friday, October 24, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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