Last April, the Rome-Floyd Development Authority announced it wanted to take a closer look at the former Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital campus, closed a decade ago in a deal between the state and the feds. It was the latest concept for the large tract in West Rome. Earlier ideas had ranged from “Hope Village” to help those in need recover and become active in the business community to a tech hub to a regional college and career academy venue and even a much-needed veterans care campus.
On Thursday, the Rome News-Tribune reported the development authority is purchasing the site for $2.25 million, once again using money earned from those extra-penny sales taxes in recent years similar to the agricultural land recently bought on U.S. 411 for potential future development.
Included in the hospital deal are 132.5 acres and 195 buildings. The newspaper reports some of it will be demolished — including buildings with asbestos concerns — and others salvaged.
Given the price, there’s talk of this being a bargain. But others continue to argue the property should have been gifted to the city of Rome years ago to repay the loss of jobs (750), loss of economic impact (millions each year) and continuing costs of caring for many of the displaced patients (original story and see the new medical ward at the Floyd County Jail, also paid by an extra-penny sales tax). The outright transfer of the property to Rome/Floyd was part of the Rome-Floyd Chamber’s annual legislative wish list as late as January 2019. (Original story)
In April, Missy Kendrick, the president and CEO of the Rome Floyd County Development Authority, shared this statement about interest in the site:
“There has been much discussion over the years since the Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital closed in 2011, shuttering the 130-plus acre site in the heart of Rome. The closure had regional impact, including the loss of 750 workers and the relocation of the estimated 60 remaining patients.Like most times when a community loses a large number of jobs, whether it is through the loss of a large industry or a business like the hospital, the City of Rome and the Rome Floyd County Development Authority came together to work on a plan. Jointly funded, the Northwest Georgia Regional Development Plan provided several suggestions for the site, with the number one recommendation being advanced manufacturing. The Rome Floyd County Development Authority announced plans Tuesday to conduct a Phase II on the site to determine any environmental issues, as well as the possibility of doing a demolition survey to assess the presence of hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead paint, to determine the cost of clearing the older buildings and residences – which was also a recommendation of the redevelopment plan. We spoke with our local city and county leaders to get their support prior to focusing on the site again to make sure we were on the same page,” says Kendrick. “We have been in contact with the Georgia State Properties Commission and have an agreement in place to reserve the property for due diligence. Our desire is to partner with the state to replace the jobs we lost when the hospital closed. We will know more as the environmental studies come in, and we gain control of the site.”
In 2019, the folks behind Restoration Rome’s nationally recognized success held a briefing to discuss a huge option: Creating Hope Village for those in need in Northwest Georgia.
Jeff Mauer, president and CEO of Global Impact International, and cofounder of the Restoration Rome, told an assembled A-list group of medical, criminal justice, social services and leaders to share a vision to help Northwest Georgians with mental health, other behavioral and addiction/recovery issues. The plan was to use as many of the existing buildings as possible to create Hope Village, perhaps employing up to 300 people. (Original story)