Community leaders hopeful despite hospital closure numbers

With so many in the community alarmed, economic leaders are seeing through the numbers.

On Wednesday, Parkway Regional Hospital announced their decision to close inpatient and emergency center services. The portion of the hospital will close in March citing a decline in community population, patients, and emergency room visits.

Parkway Regional has a twenty year history, and community leaders say its closure will be a hit to the local economy.

Fulton City Manager, Cubb Stokes says the taxes the hospital pays funds 18 percent of the city’s budget.

  • $190,000 in payroll tax.
  • $35,500 in property tax.
  • $100,000 in utility taxes.

Economic leaders say this number holds an undeniable impact, but it doesn’t mean they can’t bounce back.

The Fulton-Hickman Economic Development, Eddie Crittendon says he would love to see another medical center occupy the hospital, “At the end of the day what I would love to see is another medical company come in.”

Because he says his job is to create jobs, “In a smaller community, the economic development operation has to be a lot of things to a lot of people.”

And with the Parkway Regional Hospital’s closure he knows it’s a loss the community will sustain in more than one way, “Every immediate person in my family’s life has been safe because of that hospital sometime in the year including myself.”

Fulton City has to trim the budget every year, and Fulton City Manager, Cubb Stokes says with the hospital’s closure they have their work cut out for them, “You’re talking $225,000 a year annually which is about 18% of our budget.”

The current budget will go unaffected, but it’s the 2015-2016 budget the city is trying to revise. So many entities are incorporated in the budget, and Stokes knows its important to keep all of them funded, “You still got to have police department, public works, all your infrastructure.”

But Stokes and Crittendon are planning for the city’s rebound as so many before, “Just as Union City, Tennessee rebounded from the Goodyear closure, Mayfield rebounded with General years ago, Paducah’s going through the Gasous Diffusion Plant.”

An important distinction, the Parkway Regional Hospital is located in the City of Fulton and pays both city and county taxes.

Community leaders also say the hospital’s closure will even impact the state level, especially with sending patients across the border to Tennessee.

There will be help available to employees and others affected by the hospital’s closure at Parkway Regional Thursday, December 18th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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