Citizens concerned about hospital move invite public to meeting tonight

Published 11:29 pm Monday, July 10, 2017

By Lyndy Berryhill

FERRIDAY — A group of citizens concerned about the relocation of Riverland Medical Center invite the public to a  meeting at 6 p.m. today  at the Arcade Theater, at 218 Louisiana Ave. in Ferriday.

Barry Maxwell, a member of Citizens Against Relocating Riverland (CARR) planned the meeting along with several other members.

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“We’re trying to give the public a voice,” Maxwell said. “Why not use the land they already own?”

Talk of a new hospital began in 2014.

Concordia Parish Police Jury members voted 5-4 in late April to approve the hospital service district to acquire an amount not exceeding $36 million  in hospital revenue bonds for a new building located at 6569 U.S. 84, just outside the Ferriday corporate limits.

In June, the Louisiana Bond Commission postponed a vote on Riverland’s request for a $2.5 million line of credit related to the construction of a new hospital. The police jury gave the Riverland board of directors authority to seek the line of credit.

Maxwell and other members of CARR voiced opposition at the bond commission meeting.

The cost of the highway property is approximately $550,000, or $27,500 per acre.

Riverland already owns 35 acres behind the existing medical center.

The 15 members of CARR, Maxwell said, includes one pharmacist, two doctors and a former mayor of Ferriday. All agree a new hospital is needed. But, he said, they worry relocating would put the existing businesses near the old location in financial stress.

“We just think its ludicrous and a waste of money,” Maxwell said.

The current location is near several doctor’s offices and a nursing home.

Maxwell said it would also leave behind an empty, 50-year-old medical facility that nobody would want to buy.

“Who’s going to be interested in buying a 50-year-old hospital?” Maxwell asked.

CARR has sent letters announcing the meeting to the Riverland’s board of trustees as well as to parish police jury members in hopes they will attend.

Maxwell said he and other members hope taxpayers will show up and voice their concerns.

“We just want to get an idea of how taxpayers and citizens feel,” Maxwell said.