2009-06-04 / Opinions

Stimulatingly good news

There's good news ... and there's good news ... and there's good news.

The good news is that the ailing, dilapidated, and unsound structure of Wills Memorial Hospital is going to be rebuilt. Starting with a new inpatient wing, a brand new hospital will be "regenerated" right where it stands without any interruption of service or care.

... And the good news is that it won't cost Wilkes County taxpayers anything. The reconstruction is being financed through a federal loan and bond sale program that does not require the backing of local government bodies. Therefore, there is no risk to Wilkes County tax revenues and no chance that the hospital would cause a millage rate increase.

... And the good news is that through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's Build America bond program, the Wilkes County Hospital Authority will be getting its share of federal stimulus money to the tune of something around $3.2 million.

Marvin Goldman, Wills Memorial CEO, and Hospital Authority Chairman Lawrence Burton, as well as many members of the Authority and others have worked diligently and determinedly for years to find a way to make the hospital new again. Through their efforts, it's going to happen - now.

They have worked quietly, steadily, efficiently, and doggedly through the lengthy processes required whenever government programs are involved. They have been creative in their approaches to problem solving and they have been visionary in their planning. They have enlisted assistance from the best outside sources available and they have even been lucky to enjoy uncommonly helpful federal employees who were willing to "go the extra mile." (One even took the hospital plans with him on vacation.)

For patients at Wills Memorial, the level of care has always been professionally top notch and with an element of personal attention unique to Wills Memorial. Frequent letters to the editor in this newspaper are witness to this fact and coincidentally, there is even one in this issue.

So the best news is that the structural failings of the aging structure will no longer threaten the care Wills Memorial's patients receive and in 2½ years those patients will rest and recover in a brand new facility.

That's the kind of insightful, first-class economic development we like to see. The benefits to this community will be enormous for years to come.

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