Meeting Monday on proposal to repurpose old hospital

County Judge invites public to town hall forum

By Ralph Hardin

Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless has called for a special town hall meeting on Monday, Feb. 29 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Glenn P. Schoettle Medical Education Center, located on Rhodes Street in West Memphis, on the southeast corner of the former Crittenden Regional Hospital site. “Representatives from the state will be here to discuss the proposed use of the old Crittenden Regional Hospital,” said Wheeless. “They will be answering any questions you may have. I encourage you to attend so your concerns can be addressed.” Wheeless told the Quorum Court last week that he has a potential entity that would like to use the hospital to house low-risk drug offenders who are in a transitional substance abuse rehabilitation program. The proposal, if ultimately approved, would end the county’s responsibility paying the facility’s utility bills and create more than 130 new jobs in the community. Wheeless said, “We were contacted by an entity who wants to take over our facility and use it as a drug rehab for females. These are females who have been arrested for maybe breaking into a home looking for money or stolen from a relative for drug money and sent to prison over drugs, but prison really isn’t the proper place for them.” Wheeless said prison overcrowding has been a big issue in the state. The state is looking to ease that burden by housing nonviolent offenders — especially drug offenders — in other facilities to free up jail space.


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