New Site

The grant for the health clinic is on the town council’s agenda for tonight's meeting.

New Site is one step closer to having healthcare services in town after the Appalachian Regional Commission awarded the town a grant.

For months New Site Mayor Phil Blasingame and the town council have been searching for ways to fund the facility. Those prayers were answered this week.

“We got the grant,” Blasingame said earlier this week. “We got a $200,000 grant from (the Appalachian Regional Commission).”

The topic is on the town council’s agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.

The funds will be partnered with at least $288,725 of the town’s monies according to the grant application. Discussion the last few meetings may mean more funding is needed from the town. At a work session with area contractors, estimates put building costs from $250,000 to more than $600,000, but the figure will be narrowed down through the letting of bids approved by the council to figure out if it will go ahead.

Blasingame said at a recent meeting he wanted to make sure the council had a better idea of what the clinic would cost as well as making sure it didn’t cut corners to pinch pennies.

“We got to have a better idea of hard cost to make this decision,” Blasingame said. “We want it to look nice and 10 years later still look good.”

Architect Walter McKee of McKee and Associates in Montgomery has drawn up the plans.

Councilmembers want the building constructed in such a way if its purpose is changed at some point in the future renovations would be easier. The idea is to build the approximately 3,100 square foot building with roof trusses stretching the width of the room with no need for load-bearing walls.

The grant application said the town has the funds in reserves but will seek a tax-exempt loan with payments covered by rent from tenants Russell Medical and Jackson Pharmacy. It would serve 754 patients and could serve up to 6,000 residents who live within a 15-minute drive.

The grant application states Russell Medical would employ a registration clerk, a licensed practical nurse or certified medical assistant, a nurse practitioner and have a consulting physician. Jackson Pharmacy would employ a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician.

The grant application also states 29% of New Site residents are seniors and 11% percent live below the federal poverty line. It said 17.3% are uninsured in New Site while the national average for uninsured individuals is 17.7%.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.