LEE CO., GA (WALB) - Lee County Commissioners have started moving forward with the proposed Lee County Medical Center.
The Department of Community Health just approved the certificate of need for the hospital last Wednesday.
Vice Chairman of the commission, Billy Mathis said Monday the approval for the hospital is the best thing that has happened to Lee County in a long time.
Now, the commissioners said they're looking at what they can add to the area around where the hospital is expected to be built.
At a special-called meeting Monday morning, commissioners approved to get permits for the storm-water plan for the land.
"We've had a bit of a stormwater issue out there for many years and we have been talking about fixing the stormwater out there for maybe 15 years," explained Mathis.
The planned hospital will sit on the land once frequented by golfers and tennis players. But it won't be just a medical facility taking up this green space.
"What we want to do is come up with a plan to develop all the rest of this property in a beautiful way," explained Mathis.
The hospital is only expected to take about 20 acres of the land. That leaves another 145 acres. Commissioner said they have big plans for all the land, which includes bringing in new businesses.
"We want to be good neighbors to the folks that are already out there, the residents and retail that's already there," said Mathis.
Commissioners agreed to begin putting out requests for planners to help them develop the land.
"We want it to be the shining star in the area," said Mathis. "Maybe a beautiful new city center or something of that nature."
Although there are still more than 20 days left for opposing parties to make an appeal against the hospital's certificate of need, commissioners say they are confident things will move forward.
"We really don't have any doubt we are going to build a hospital," said Mathis.
Among the ideas commissioners have for businesses, there was mention of a possible motel.
Commissioners also are looking to add a few new roads, but are waiting for development plans to see where roads would be the best fit.
Commissioners said they hope to get working on the land as soon as permits are approved.
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