BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - For the first time, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato is going on the record saying he wants the city of Hoover to be the next home for UAB’s Medical West Hospital.
“UAB has indicated a need to build a new hospital to best serve the residents of west Jefferson County in a sustainable way. We are interested in being the new location,” Brocato said Tuesday.
For months, rumors swirled about the city’s interest in pursuing the hospital as UAB seeks to relocate the facility from its current location in Bessemer.
Brocato would never confirm the rumors, only referring to an unnamed $400 million project that would bring 1,000 jobs to the city during previous talks with city council members.
That changed Tuesday as Brocato gave further insight into how the city let UAB officials know of it’s interest in pursuing the hospital.
“We approached MedWest about that possibility, and MedWest has indicated that it is open to considering Hoover as a possible location of a new facility,” Brocato explained.
Before publicly announcing the city’s plans, Brocato wanted to do his homework. “We’ve commissioned an impact study to determine what the hospital would mean for our city from an economic development standpoint."
The results of that study will be presented to city council members during a committee of the whole meeting scheduled for Monday, October 1.
“We believe it is a great thing for our city and we are approaching our council and asking for their support on this initiative,” Brocato said.
Hoover City Councilman Derrick Murphy is chairman of the council’s economic development committee and says he is open to hearing what the study yields.
“When you have any large, thriving business like UAB even express interest in our city, it’s always a plus," Murphy said. “I look forward the to hearing more from a due diligence perspective about the potential impact on economic development, job growth and servicing cities in the western area.”
This is not the city’s first effort to lure a hospital to the city. For more than 25 years, Hoover leaders have tried to get a large medical center within the city limits.
It seemed as though that push may have come to fruition under Governor Bob Riley’s administration. However, the effort ultimately failed.
Talks have continued since then about the city’s need for a facility, especially now, considering the city’s population stands at nearly 90,000 residents.
On numerous occasions, Brocato has pointed out Hoover is the largest city in Alabama that does not have it’s own hospital.
WBRC will update this story as more information becomes available.