Thursday evening in Chilton County, residents will have a chance to hear more about efforts to re-open their only hospital.
According to the Petition to Re-Open Chilton County Hospital Facebook group page, Joel Burdette and Billy McKenzie are two prospective buyers for the hospital.
The men say they want to take on the responsibility and cost of re-opening Chilton Medical Center. They say their goal is to purchase the property and obtain a certificate of need required to operate the hospital.
They say this would be a privately-funded venture and wouldn't cost taxpayers any money. Their next step is to take their proposal to Judge John Bush July 25 and try to obtain the certificate of need.
The Chilton Medical Center essentially closed in October 2012 after its license was revoked. At that time, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) ordered the hospital to cease operations. No new patients were accepted and current patients were transferred to other facilities.
Just this week, county commissioners approved a referendum for a one-cent sales tax to help fund the construction of a new facility.
Officials have told FOX6 that it would be too expensive to renovate the current facility and they feel raising the tax to build a new campus would be the most effective way to re-open the hospital.
Many are unhappy with this option because it would mean continuing to live without a hospital for several more years. The referendum has to be approved for a public vote in next year's legislative session. If voters approve the sales tax, it could then take another 18 months to actually build the hospital.
Reporter Vanessa Araiza is covering Thursday's meeting. She will will have a preview during FOX6 News at 5 and more details during FOX6 News at 9 and 10. You can also follow her on Twitter @AraizaReport.
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