New buyer could reopen Crittenden Regional Hospital - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New buyer could reopen Crittenden Regional Hospital

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC) -

New life could come to Crittenden County's only hospital, months after it closed because it didn't have enough money to stay open.

WMC Action News 5 was at the hospital when fire tore through Crittenden Regional Hospital in West Memphis and the medical facility has been closed ever since.

Eight months later, talk of a possible new buyer has some people hopeful.

The county is spending $100,000 a month to maintain the building.

Ameris Health Systems announced plans to purchase the hospital, but before that happened the current debt has to be paid.

That's where talk of a possible sales tax comes in.

In 2014, voters agreed to a one percent tax hike to save the hospital, but that was repealed because the money was not sufficient to keep the hospital running.

Judge Woody Wheelis says this time around will be much different for the taxpayer footing the bill.

"We would keep it and they would have to present invoices to use before we would give them any money. We're in dire need of getting our hospital back open," Wheelis said.

Currently the facility needs a new roof and a new heating and cooling system, but Wheelis says the building itself is fine. He estimates that about $30 million from the sales tax hike over five years would wipe out that debt.

Crittenden County taxpayers will have a say in what happens at the hospital.

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved. 

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