Some Clay County residents expressed disappointment with the lack of community investment at Thursday night’s Cumberland River Hospital meeting.
Just 20 individuals attended the community meeting at the facility to discuss the possibilities for the hospital. This included three county commissioners and one city official, Mayor Luke Collins. Tom Rohyans said with a decision that affects the whole community, there should be more people present.
“What better is there than to invest in your own community,” Rohyans said. “And if the city and the county work together and are willing to invest in their own community, how can it fail? There’s risk in any investment you make, any investment. But who stands to lose more?”
Other concerns came from citizens worried about the timeline and how that could affect progress. Donna Butler said she feels time is of the essence in order for the hospital to reopen and succeed.
“The longer that it takes and the longer that it’s closed to more people become discouraged and the more they think that we’re never going to get it,” Butler said. “And if something positive could happen and change the community’s vision to where you could move forward without everyone being so divisive, it would be a win-win for everyone.”
County Commissioners Winton Young and Dorothy Forney said there is still hope a decision on the hospital will come back before the commission. Young said as for the immediate next steps, he will look to Collins and County Mayor Dale Reagan and follow their lead.
Collins issued a public apology to Hospital Owner Johnny Presley for putting in so much time and money into helping the hospital and not receiving support. Collins also presented Presley with a key to the city, in honor of that service. Collins said it was “long overdue.”