Town makes another appeal for hospital property

Published 6:34 pm Thursday, November 10, 2016

BELHAVEN — The Town of Belhaven is asking once again for the old hospital property.

The Board of Aldermen passed a resolution Wednesday night requesting that property owners Pantego Creek LLC deed the East Water Street spot to Pungo Medical Center, the nonprofit created to oversee the hospital’s reopening efforts.

The action was in response to an announcement mailed out to Pantego Creek’s membership, stating that Strategic Healthcare LLC declined to go through with the $1 million purchase of the building. Strategic originally announced plans in March to bring veterans care to the hospital upon its reopening.

“All of a sudden, they quit talking to us. Now why they quit talking to us, I don’t know. I don’t know what happened to Strategic Healthcare,” Mayor Adam O’Neal said Wednesday night.

In their letter to the membership, the four Pantego Creek managers recommended that the hospital building be torn down due to its deteriorating condition and asked members to vote on the demolition by Thursday.

The managers have said in the past that they would like to repurpose the property, as they feel it would be more beneficial to the town to do so.

There is no word as of yet on how the membership voted.

O’Neal said Wednesday that the original Pungo District Hospital was built with funds and donations from the community, so he believes it should be returned to the community via Pungo Medical Center.

“We have a group of people in our community that want to tear down a hospital that can be reopened. Who would do that?” O’Neal said.

According to O’Neal, Pungo Medical agrees to return the property to Pantego Creek if it is unable to secure enough funds to reopen the facility. The resolution does not appear to give a timeline on how long Pungo Medical has to secure the funds.

“This is not a simple situation. This is not a lightweight issue. This is a matter of people dying for no reason,” O’Neal said.

As of press time, there was no word on how Pantego Creek would respond to the town’s resolution request.