Land purchases for new Florence hospital could restart soon

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - Not much in east Florence has changed since a sign depicting a new hospital went up along Veterans Drive in 2012.

The proposed site of a new 280-bed hospital by RegionalCare has slowed to a crawl with numerous appeals and hearings with the Alabama Certificate of Need board.

But we could see some movement in the coming weeks.

“This will go ahead and satisfy some of the property owners, and go ahead and get them their money so they can close out and move on,” said Florence City Council President Dick Jordan.

On the city council and Lauderdale County Commission agendas this month, RegionalCare is asking for $10 million out of a $40 million escrow account.

Set up when RegionalCare purchased ECM Hospital, the money will be used to finish buying property at the proposed site.

Council President Jordan said the proposed development will jump-start plans to rejuvenate the Veterans Drive corridor in east Florence.

“This is going to be so good for the city, county, and the whole state,” Jordan explained. “I’m really looking forward to them to opening up the new hospital and all the different off-shoots it produces.”

Jordan said releasing the money to get the properties purchased could save six months in construction time, once RegionalCare gets final approval from the state.

If the city council and county commission both approve the item, RegionalCare could begin the final land acquisition process before the end of the year.

There is no timeline on when final state approval may come.