MOUNT VERNON — If or when Knox Public Health receives a large shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine, it can quickly swing into gear for a drive-through vaccination clinic.
On Friday, the Knox County Land Bank entered into a Memorandum of Understanding allowing KPH to use Test Bay 4 in Cooper Progress Park (formerly the Siemens Energy campus) as a vaccination site for the next six months as needed. The building has four drive-through bays.
“Our hope is that it's large enough that we can run a lot more cars through it than at the fairgrounds,” Health Commissioner Julie Miller said.
Vaccination protocol requires individuals to wait 15 minutes after being vaccinated to make sure there are no allergic reactions.
“The parking area just outside the doors will allow them a place to wait for those 15 minutes,” said Miller.
KPH will not pay a rental fee.
“It's for the public good. We want to be able to help,” said Sam Filkins, vice president of the land bank. “We did ask for help covering utilities."
Miller said that if KPH continues to receive the minimal dose of 100 vaccines a week, KPH will continue to hold walk-through clinics.
Cooper-Cameron has not yet signed over the deed for Cooper Progress Park to the land bank. Several companies have expressed interest in the site.
Also on Friday, the land bank board authorized Filkins to enter into an agreement with an architectural firm for design renderings of the former Mount Vernon News building.
Land Bank President Jeff Gottke said that the land bank will drive the design ideas rather than a potential buyer. Filkins expects to choose a firm this week.
The land bank acquired the News building in December 2020 for $1. It will take possession of the building, as well as anything left inside, on Feb. 1. Filkins said that an environmental study showed no major issues with the building.