Flood recovery money causing controversy - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Flood recovery money causing controversy

March 3, 2003

Albany - Albany City Commissioners have finally decided what to do with flood recovery money. A health care facility will be built for Phoebe Putney hospital and for the first time, Phoebe is expanding into South Albany.

The Phoebe Putney health care facility is expected to be built at the Newton Road Shopping Center. This decision went over well with doctors, but not with a nearby business owner.

Nearly two million dollars of Flood Recovery money will be used to build the health care facility in South Albany. Phoebe Putney Doctor Carl Gordon, Jr. says, "This is a great step so that medical care can be provided to those who have no means what's so ever."

The building will be leased by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. Doctors say it will make lines shorter at the main hospital. Doctor Gordon says, "I think that's a magnificent situation."

Phoebe Putney officials say this new facility will not be a money making deal. They expect to lose 250,000 dollars a year. Doctor Gordon explains, "Even if they have no money they will not be turned away."

But, one nearby bar is being turned away. Attorney Joseph Vaknin says, "Even if it's across the street, the fact is the city is planning to develop and would not like to have Tops Korner across the street. The city has found a way to close here down."

In Monday's meeting, commissioners voted to pull the bar's business license. The owner is Melva Williams. Vaknin asks, "Why are they not going after other businesses who have act of prostitution, cocaine possession in parking lot? This is selective prosecution."

On the Topps Korner situation, Police Chief Bobby Johnson also mentioned the bar has not had telephone service since November, the water meter was tampered with and the shooting last fall.

Several city commissioners thought it was unfair other health care providers like Palmyra were not included in the project decision.

posted at 4:30PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com

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