Fayette County

Hospital Hospitality House in Lexington to close

The Hospital Hospitality House, a low-cost haven for the families of hospital patients for nearly three decades, is closing.

University of Kentucky spokeswoman Kristi Lopez said the property at 342 South Limestone was leased by Hospital Hospitality House of Lexington.

The non-profit organization sent a letter saying that as of June 30 the group would no longer lease the property from UK.

"UK is looking to see how we can continue to provide that service to those families," Lopez said.

"Financially, we were just not able to do it anymore," said Tim Geertz, president of the non-profit. "It was our decision."

Lopez said she hopes that arrangements can be made so patients' families aren't without an option for housing come July 1. The hospital does offer discounted rates at local hotels, she said.

There is no word yet on how the building will be used, she said.

A 2004 Herald-Leader article noted that the Hospitality House had served more than 20,000 guests for more than 70,000 nights since it opened in 1982. But leaders said at the time that the house was struggling financially.

Tax documents for the non-profit group show donations dropped sharply in the last few years. Calls to members of the board were not returned Thursday.

Georgetown resident Murphy Merrill, for one, will be sorry to see The Hospitality House close.

She learned of the non-profit after her daughter's recent hospital stay. While her family didn't use Hospitality House, she met many others who did. She was starting her own fund-raising effort when she was told the house was going to be closed.

"It's wonderful and fabulous," Merrill said. "It's a shame that it's closing."