If things go as planned, and Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless is not only successful in bringing a brand new hospital to Crittenden County but also work out all the details regarding state officials taking over the vacant hospital and creating nearly 150 new jobs, he will have done as much or more for direct economic impact than has been seen in years in this county. Not only will this state-run, low profile rehabilitation facility create scores of well-paying jobs that will go to experienced counselors, management and staff but with that comes their families. That means they will need homes to live in, vehicles to purchase, groceries to buy, restaurants to patronize, furniture, goods and services that will directly benefit existing and new businesses. Then there are the separate support facilities that will add to the local economy. This is the type of economic development that will be have a major impact on attracting the type of people who will play a positive role in the future of West Memphis, Marion and Crittenden County. In addition to all this, Wheeless played the leading role in securing a brand new hospital for the people of Crittenden County that will also have a major economic impact on the entire county. This is a facility that will attract doctors, nurses and scores of medical specialists, many of whom will hopefully want to make our community their home. These are the kind of people who will be not only bolster the local business economy they will also be paying property taxes on their homes, sales taxes and local governmental fees for public services. We’re told Baptist Hospital will invest millions of dollars in this new hospital and Judge Wheeless has said that as much local businesses as possible will get first chance with the hospital’s construction, services and needs. In addition, Wheeless says part of the agreement regarding this rehabilitation facility at the former Crittenden Regional Hospital is that operators have agreed to bring the facility up to standard by investing millions of dollars in replacing the roof and other major repairs. Among the major benefactors of all this will be the City of West Memphis in that both the new hospital and the rehab facility will be within the city limits. Furthermore, both facilities will be spending thousands of dollars monthly to the West Memphis Utility Department which will represent positive income for a city-owned utility that is experiencing a larger than normal number of customers failing to pay their monthly utility bills. It would be hoped that West Memphis leaders will join Judge Wheeless in making all those involved in the new hospital as well as those professionals taking over the old one as welcome and accommodating as possible. We want to highly praise Judge Wheeless for all that he has done to bring us a brand new hospital, work the deal with the state to take over the old hospital, create scores of high paying jobs and bolster local economy. We encourage every citizen of Crittenden County to let him know how much they appreciate all that he has done for the citizens of West Memphis, Marion and the county.