Plans change again to bring a new hospital to Poplar Bluff. Officials with Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center are now back on their original location plan to build a new facility.
"It's long overdue," said Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center CEO Greg Carda says they need more room.
"We have three patients in the ER right now waiting for beds," said Carda.
The plan is to build a new 250 bed, $170 million hospital. Initially, they wanted to build in the northwest corner of Poplar Bluff known as "Eight Points".
That proved expensive. "At that point we looked at alternatives," said Carda.
So they heavily considered land off of PP Highway. On that stretch of land is an old grave yard called Shadle Cemetery. That drew opposition from family members hoping to preserve graves.
That issue was a big factor in the decision to relocate back to Eight Points. It's a plan Greg Carda says the city backs.
"It's such an economic boon to the area that we are the envy of the entire state with this project," said Carda.
Also planned at that location is retail development near the hospital. Future announcements on those retail projects should be coming within the next 60 days.
Both projects are expected to bring hundreds of new jobs to the area.
Poplar Bluff resident Marion West wants to see the hospital back at the PP highway location.
His concern is the loss of tax money. "The way they propose at this site, the school system gets $50 million in 20 years taxes," said West. "The other site they get $12 million over 21 years."
CEO Greg Carda says that matter has been resolved. "We agreed to voluntarily putting $10-15 million in property taxes in the life of the 25 year enterprise zone," said Carda.
Van Rhodes lives about 400 feet from the Eight Points location. "We've been living there since 1993."
He'll have to move, but says it's worth it.
"I think that it's the best location, and I wish they would settle on it and not fight over where it will go," said Rhodes. "If we're going to do it, let's do it."
The hospital still must get "Certificate of Need" approval before moving forward.
A hearing is set for September in Jefferson City, but hospital officials hope to get a sooner date.
If given the green light, construction on the new facility would begin almost immediately and is expected to take 18-24 months to complete.