Essentia to open Cloquet clinic


August 2, 2019

The clinic will face Highway 33 from the frontage road on the west side of Highway 33; the drawing of the proposed Essentia clinic shows the parking lot and entry way on the opposite side of the clinic from Highway 33. Architectural rendering provided by City of Cloquet

It’s official. Essential Health is planning to open a Cloquet clinic at the site of the Driftwood Motel, opposite Walmart on the frontage road west of Highway 33.

“We are expanding our services in Cloquet to meet the health care needs of Essentia Health patients and employees in the area,” said Essentia Health spokesperson Louie St. George.

City planner and zoning administrator Al Cottingham confirmed that the plans were public, noting that the health care network submitted plans to the city for a 10,000-square-foot clinic at the Driftwood Motel site. The motel had been vacant and for sale for some time — there were rumors earlier this spring that Essentia was buying everything from the motel to the empty Applebee’s restaurant to build something.

Cottingham said the planned clinic is about half the size of Cloquet’s Raiter Clinic, and includes exam rooms, urgent care space, general radiology, a waiting room and other spaces needed in a clinic, “not a hospital.”

The clinic will face Highway 33, but parking and the clinic entry will be on the opposite side of the building, according to the plans.

Cottingham said he got the paperwork about a week ago, and site plan approval is scheduled for consideration by the Cloquet Planning Commission at its Aug. 13 meeting, with a recommendation to go to the Cloquet City Council at its Aug. 20 meeting.

He said the application is fairly straightforward and doesn’t involve any variances or other requests that fall outside the city’s zoning laws.

“Everything meets or exceeds our minimum standards,” he said, adding that he knows they “wanted to be under construction like yesterday.”

According to the website, Essentia Health is a network of hospitals, clinics, and related health care facilities serving patients in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Idaho.

In addition to Raiter Clinic, Community Memorial Hospital also operates a family health clinic in Cloquet, along with MedExpress Urgent Care, a neighborhood medical center in the Pine Tree shopping center.


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