Riley coming to Pell City to share 'great news'
by Will Heath
Aug 27, 2010 | 1461 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Citizens awaiting word on a potential Veterans Affairs Nursing Home in Pell City may not have to wait much longer.

Officials from the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs said Gov. Bob Riley will be in Pell City Wednesday at 10 a.m. to conduct a news conference on the third floor of Jefferson State Community College in Pell City. The purpose of the conference, per the announcement, is to share “great news … about Alabama’s fourth state veterans home.”

Officials from the governor’s office confirmed Riley’s planned visit to Pell City.

“We’re absolutely excited,” Pell City Mayor Bill Hereford said Friday. “I can’t wait for the announcement, whatever it might be.”

News of Riley’s visit is the latest development in the saga surrounding the potential facility, which would share a campus with the new St. Vincent’s St. Clair facility, which is under construction. The project has been a topic of discussion for city and county leaders since early 2008.

Commission Chairman Stan Batemon said Friday the project is waiting only on funding.

“All the things that are necessary are in place,” he said. “I hate using the term ‘shovel-ready,’ but we are as ready as we can possibly be, with the exception of the funding. We wanted to make sure that once the funding becomes available, we’re ready.”

The nursing home and the hospital projects, though separate, have been intertwined in negotiations (construction on the hospital began in January and is slated for completion in 2011). Batemon said the infrastructure for a potential nursing home is part of the hospital construction.

“We’re ready there,” he said. “We’ve got sewer, water, gas, the road that’s being built. We’re definitely ready to go.”

Contact Will Heath at wheath@thestclairtimes.com.

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