County residents weigh in on proposed ACC women’s center at former hospital site

By Ralph Hardin ralphhardin@gmail.com

Ask and you shall receive. Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless posted a request on his Facebook page asking residents to offer their opinions on the proposal to turn the former Crittenden Regional Hospital building into an Arkansas Department of Community Correction-run treatment facility for women. The center currently operates in Pine Bluff, but poor conditions and other factors have the ACC looking for an alternative site. The old CRH building has been without a tenant since August 2014, when the hospital closed its doors and declared bankruptcy. Although the county recently reached an agreement with Baptist Memorial Health Systems to construct a new hospital, expected to open in 2018, the matter of the old building remains unresolved. The county has spent over $1 million keeping the facility insured, secured and powered, but the window for finding an new tenant has closed. The county self-imposed a March 1 deadline for finding a new tenant. The ACC deal was discussed but not finalized on Feb. 26. A brief extension has been put in place but a deal will need to be finalized soon. Opinions were varied, ranging from matter-of-factly stating support or disdain for the proposal to emotional pleas against or for the idea. The quorum court has gone on record as “generally for” the plan, but it will also depend on the West Memphis City Council, with zoning and design plans needing their approval.

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