Local state officials evaluate Bainbridge
Published 6:18 pm Friday, December 16, 2016
By John Simpson
District 11 Senator Dean Burke and District 173 Representative Darlene Taylor attended the annual Bainbridge Hometown Connection Tour on Thursday, Dec. 15.
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The legislators gathered for lunch with various public officials from Bainbridge and Decatur County before going on a tour around Bainbridge.
The two items of importance that the legislators wanted to focus on, however, were the hospital and the state trucking route being rerouted.
The financial state of the hospital is a big concern for the legislators who spoke about how they can assist it from the state level.
“A top priority this year is to look for ways to support the hospital,” said Representative Taylor.
While discussing the state of the hospital, the topic of using federal block grants to assist the hospital came up. A block grant would allow the city to use the federal grant in various ways that they chose, which Taylor thinks should be to assist rural hospitals.
“The top priority of any block grant needs to include helping rural hospitals that are in danger,” Taylor said. “They have to be at the top of the list for community grants for health care.”
Along with helping the hospital from a financial standpoint, both legislators agreed that a healthy community is a step toward helping the hospital as well.
“Can we get people eating healthier and walking and doing things as a community, and that would cut down on the folks that have diabetes and hypertension.” Said Taylor. “What can we do as a community to identify those that need that kind of help.”
As far as receiving the block grants, Taylor said she would do everything she can to get the assistance needed.
She serves as the vice-chairman for healthcare appropriations subcommittee and has already spoken to her chairman about the matter.
The other stop on the tour was to view the site where the new trucking route would go through.
The trucking route in question would move the state recognized trucking road from Broad St., which cuts directly through downtown Bainbridge, to Whigham Dairy Rd. In order for that to happen, the roads need to be widened, which would fall on the city to get completed.
“The city wanted to make sure we understood what that projected looked like so we could support it with the Department of Transportation on a state level.” Said Burke.
When asked about the timeline of a decision being made about the truck route, Burke said he believes the DOT is already looking into the request by the city, which considers all the environmental aspects of changing the route and investigate the request from a cost stand point.
Burke added that his duty now falls on supporting the request to the DOT and helping them make the choice to place a priority on the trucking route.
The other tour stops included the sewer line breach near the Waste Water Treatment Plant and the new spec building in the Industrial Park. Both legislators had to forfeit the sewer line stop due to time conflictions.
“I am very happy to see the progress we’ve made out there.” Taylor said. “There has been a number of companies out there that have expanded their businesses already. Not big ones that hit the front page of the paper, but they added 15, 20 jobs or even 10 jobs, but right now in Decatur County, that’s important.”