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Enquirer photo/Lauren Jackson The former hospital property has remained vacant since shutting down seven years ago.

City plans former hospital redevelopment

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the City of Hartselle held the first meeting concerning the redevelopment of the former Hartselle Hospital Feb. 15 at City Hall.

Pamela Luckie, part of ADEM’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program, led the meeting.

Luckie explained brownfields are properties that are contaminated or thought to be contaminated, such as the former hospital. She said the partnership between ADEM and the City of Hartselle will allow the former hospital property to be redeveloped into something useful for the community.

“(ADEM) will aid in the city redeveloping the old hospital property. It is an effort for us to come alongside and kind of help guide them through the process, to help educate them on things that department can provide,” Luckie said.

Mayor Randy Garrison said the partnership will help the city move forward on the redevelopment of the property. Garrison said the main vision will be to turn the location into a workforce development center for all of Morgan County.

“The location would be the perfect place for a workforce development center for Morgan County,” Garrison said.

After sitting vacant for seven years, the building will likely be torn down, and the workforce development center will be built on the site, Garrison said. “I think when you come into the city from that end of town, that is what you see – that building that is decaying and going down – and we would like to have something come out of the ashes,” Garrison said.

Luckie said that helping cities like Hartselle redevelop areas like the former hospital is the main goal of ADEM. “We are completely focused on brownfields. Any areas (that have) perceived contamination, we want to help them navigate that process,” Luckie said.

Luckie said redevelopment not only helps with the look of an area but helps create new jobs and take care of the environment. “We want to help make the state better. We want to help the state redevelop these areas that are perceived for crime,” she said. “We want to create a healthy environment. We want to help them shore up their infrastructure and use what they have for job creation. We want to create places where people are happy to live.”

Garrison said although the city is still working on specifics and working to research possible funding, the workforce development center will be a benefit to not only Hartselle but all of Morgan County. “It would be in the center of Morgan County. It would allow for Morgan County Schools, Hartselle City Schools, even Decatur City Schools to work on it,” he said. “The county is so spread out, and this is the center of it.”

ADEM will hold another meeting March 7 from 5-7 p.m. at City Hall. The meeting will consist of a community visioning workshop, in which the community can present ideas for the redevelopment.