Lee Co. approves Memorandum of Understanding for hospital

Lee Co. approves Memorandum of Understanding for hospital
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

LEE CO., GA (WALB) - In a meeting Tuesday, the Parks and Recreation Department of Lee County voted to deed the Grand Island Golf Club to the county's development authority.

This is the first step in a move to develop a $30-50 million hospital and business complex that could employ 200 people.

This decision was contingent on the county commission voting on the Memorandum of Understanding.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, the Memorandum of Understanding was passed in a vote of 5 to 0.

This means that Lee County has agreed on the necessary steps to build a new hospital.

This deal has been in the works quietly for more than 2 years.

"We're always striving for new business and new commercial opportunities.  And this is essentially a once in a lifetime deal. We've had a medical facility approach us about building here in Lee County," said Lee County Commissioner Luke Singletary.

The state will also have to approve a Certificate of Need for the hospital.

If the new hospital deal falls through, the future of the golf course is unknown at this time.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding, February 1 could be the last day the golf course is open.

Officials have until then to make their final decision on the course's future.

As of now, it appears it will close, but will continue to run business as usual until February.

A statement from Joel Wernick, President/CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System was released Tuesday evening in response to the news.

At this time, we know no more than what the media has reported and have had no contact from Lee County officials.  As the region's referral center for advanced care, we are curious as to what new services will be offered and whether this means the Lee County Commission is now going to assist with the annual charity and indigent care Phoebe currently provides to Lee County citizens, which totaled over $9 million in fiscal year 2015.

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