Dougherty Commission seeks cooperation with Lee Co. after dropping lawsuit

Billy Mathis (Source: WALB)
Billy Mathis (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - After working for months to stop Lee County from building a new hospital, now Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas says they want to work with Lee County officials.

Cohilas said he felt it was the appropriate time to end the litigation.

Now both Lee and Dougherty County officials say they are willing to work together, something we've not heard before.

"We could have decided to litigate this for years and years to come but I don't think that's appropriate," said Cohilas.

Dougherty County has dropped it's lawsuit after its previous temporary restraining order was denied.

"We didn't get an initial positive ruling," said Cohilas. "We're disappointed in that but we wish Lee County the best of luck."

Now that the lawsuit is no longer a concern, what does that mean for the Lee County?

"We had two hospitals here for 39 years and we're about to have two hospitals again," said Lee County Commissioner Billy Mathis.

And now that they have the green light, Lee County isn't wasting any time.

"Probably tomorrow the architects will be turned loose," said Mathis. "They are all very happy we're going to move ahead and I'm sure the public will be happy that we're going to move ahead."

Cohilas explains that he will now focus his efforts on Dougherty County.

"Rebuilding this community, investing in our jobs, investing in our infrastructure and moving forward," said Cohilas.

Cohilas extended a hand to Lee County to now work with them, not against.

"At the end of the day we're neighbors," said Cohilas. "We're going to have to work together and we wish them the best of luck."

"In the future, if they want to work with us we're happy to work with them," said Mathis. "We've said it time and time again, we'll help them any way we can help them."

"We certainly hope that the medical center is a positive thing and that overall it will be a good investment for the Lee County taxpayers, " said Cohilas. "But that's up to them and we wish them the best of luck."

"The people are the winners here," said Mathis. "Two hospitals again. We are very excited about that."

Mathis said that once they break ground, they anticipate the hospital taking about a year to build and then they will be open for the public.

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