“We hope this will speed things up,” Mayor William “Bill” Hereford said after the council unanimously approved a resolution to help support the construction of a new hospital in Pell City.
“Pell City is stepping up, doing all we can do to make the new hospital happen,” Hereford said.
At Monday night’s council meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution, agreeing to pay up to $3 million during a 20-year period to help subsidize the new St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital.
“This has dragged on for so long,” said Pell City Councilman James McGowan. “It’s time to move on.”
City officials say they hope to send a message through their non-binding resolution that the city fully supports the construction of a new state-of-the-art hospital for the residents of Pell City and St. Clair County.
The resolution approved by the council Monday night says the city will expend up to $150,000 per year for 20 years, or one-half of the hospital’s annual deficiency, whichever is less.
The city will also provide water and sewer infrastructure “only to the extent the city is able as determined by the council.”
City officials said the new hospital is vital and could indirectly help produce 300 new jobs, and more than $80 million in construction with the new Veterans Administration Nursing Home.
Hereford said the new hospital and nursing home go hand and hand and could not only create new jobs and additional tax revenue for the city and schools, but the projects could spark the construction of new businesses, apartments and homes.
“This is going to trigger a lot of good things for us,” Hereford said.
Under a tentative agreement reached with the parties involved in the project, the city would also have half-ownership in the old St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital along Dr. John Haynes Drive.
The St. Clair County Commission will also have half-ownership in the old hospital.
Hereford said the council will vote on the tentative agreement again when everything is officially in place.
The council also approved a resolution Monday night committing the city to 20 percent of the cost to building a road from Hazelwood Drive, starting close to U.S. 231, to Wolf Creek Road North.
The resolution is an agreement between the city and the Alabama Department of Transportation. The new road will allow better access to the new hospital,. nursing home and Jefferson State Community College and go through property owned by the St. Clair Economic Development Council.
The new road will cost the city about $111,000, but Hereford said the St. Clair County Commission is expected to help on the city’s match.
Hereford said the road is going to be inside the city, although a small portion could be in the county.