HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Many people asking a lot of questions, even more of them voicing concerns, as we learn more about the potential of Hoover getting a new hospital.
We were there as Hoover city leaders explained the impact of relocating UAB Medical West from Bessemer to a property next to Trace Crossings on Sunday afternoon.
While one city councilor said Sunday’s meeting was a bit premature, council president Gene Smith said it was a success.
Smith said it allowed councilors to have a better grasp of the concerns of residents.
“Engagement from all stakeholders, whether you’re a Hoover resident or not, is really required and is vital to the process to helping us come up with what I would call a win-win-win solution to the conversation at hand,” said Hoover city councilman John Lyda to start the meeting.
People lined up, shared concerns and asked questions about how moving UAB’s Medical West Hospital to Hoover from Bessemer would affect them.
Topics ranged from concerns about traffic, to questions about Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato’s proposed $20 million incentive to lure the hospital to choose Hoover over a property in McCalla.
“I know that this facility will be lifesaving and therefore life changing,” said Mayor Frank Brocato.
But after Hoover City Administrator Allan Rice went over findings from the economic impact study, many residents wanted to know how the hospital would impact property values, which was one major question they couldn’t answer.
“We’re talking about a proposal that, right now, there’s a lot of moving parts,” said Hoover city councilman Curt Posey. “Nothing’s been decided. So it’s not, in my opinion, it’s not exactly the best case scenario to bring these people something that’s half-baked. And that’s what we’ve done.”
Representatives from the city of Bessemer were also there, to share their concerns about what would happen to the current facility.
Rice said if the hospital relocates to Hoover, they told the city of Hoover that they will also keep an emergency department open in Bessemer.
“They told us point blank, if we go to McCalla, then we probably won’t keep a free-standing emergency room in Bessemer,” said Rice.
UAB was not at this meeting.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions, and right now, we’re told there’s no real timeline.
City councilors assure residents there will be more meetings like this to be as transparent as possible.