Hope Health breaks ground on brand new facility - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Hope Health breaks ground on brand new facility

On Wednesday, a ground breaking ceremony announced the arrival of a new health care facility. | Source: Ken Baker On Wednesday, a ground breaking ceremony announced the arrival of a new health care facility. | Source: Ken Baker

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A property on one of Florence's busiest roads is going to get a $15 million facelift.

On Wednesday, a ground breaking ceremony announced the arrival of a new health care facility.

More than $3 million dollars had to be pumped into the land to get it ready to house the new medical building. It took that much money because the land was once contaminated, because it was a junkyard.

"You'll have a primary health care facility, where people can walk down Sumter Street see a primary physician, get their prescription there get there x-rays there," City of Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela.

Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela said Monday's groundbreaking was 20 years in the making.

The property at the corner of Irby and Highway 52 North used to be an old junk yard.

In 1992, the City of Florence purchased the land with economic development in mind.

"The city is in the position where others might not be to go in and purchase the land and purchase the property even though you may not have a project immediately in mind," Wukela said.

Last year, the city gave the land to Hope Health after approving plans for the medical facility.

"We talked earlier today about how we are going to be serving 30,000 patients the first year we open this facility," Carl Humphries, Hope Health Chief Executive Office said.

Hope Health is a medical facility that offers affordable health care to those who otherwise could not afford to be treated.

The facility will go up in three phases, and a number of jobs will come with its opening.

 Mayor Wukela said this building will help spur more developments in the area.

"You improve the property values in the surrounding communities. You make an example that you are making an infrastructure investment in that community, therefore making it possible for others who want to make those investments come to the floor and do that," Wukela said.

Wukela said due to construction, two additional $4 million developments are planned just within a couple blocks of this site.

"The symbolism of taking that site of despair and turning it in to a place of hope is awesome," Humphries said.

The first phase of this project will be up and running by fall of next year.

Project and city leaders say this development does key things for the area.

It provides affordable health care to those who normally wouldn't be able to get it.

It raises property values in this area and cleans up a gateway into the city.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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