MADISON, MS (WLBT) - According to St. Dominic Hospital officials, there are not enough hospital beds to care for Madison's growing population, and they want to fill that need.
For a third time the hospital is attempting to open a facility in Madison county.
A town hall meeting was held Monday night in Madison to gain support for St. Dominic's plan.
The hospital is going beyond meeting medical needs to get residents on board.
Music played and food was served at the Madison Cultural Center in anticipation of a joint presentation to residents by St. Dominic, the City of Madison and the Madison Chamber of Commerce.
St. Dominic unveiled plans to relocate 71 beds from Jackson to a site off I-55 between Reunion Parkway and Gluckstadt Road.
"I believe they really need hospitals kind of closer," said Gary Hawkins who attended the meeting with his wife Amy.
The couple has lived in Madison for three years.
"It would kinda be nice if something happened, an emergency, if you live in Madison not having to drive to Canton or Jackson," added Hawkins.
Hospital officials and city leaders talked about the $121 million dollar facility that would occupy 177,000 square feet on 400 acres, paid for by the medical center.
But the deal was sweetened when it was announced that a sports complex would be included with soccer, baseball and softball fields and tennis courts.
That expansion would need public and private funding.
St. Dominic was previously denied a certificate of need.
Medical center officials said now has overwhelming community support, including elected officials and civic leaders.
One opponent is Madison River Oaks Hospital under construction off I-55 on the Nissan Parkway in Canton.
The 67 bed $42 million dollar facility is scheduled to open in 2011.
"Our position is that we don't think this is competitive. We're trying to meet the public need. Image a county as large geographically and diverse as Madison, there needs to be two hospitals and two emergency rooms," said St. Dominic Vice President Paul Arrington.
"We wish them well in the Canton area, but we're talking about the highest growth in the state and when you look at other areas our size in other states they have hospitals," said Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler.
With a population nearing 30,000, city leaders said 85% of Madison's residents travel to Jackson for medical treatment, and they are encouraging residents to sign petitions supporting the St. Dominic Madison Campus.
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