Kennett city officials face new roadblock in bringing hospital back to town

A new roadblock in the three-year battle to bring a hospital back to Kennett.
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT
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KENNETT, Mo. (KFVS) - A new roadblock in the three-year battle to bring a hospital back to Kennett.

City leaders say push back from potential partners is bringing the effort to a standstill.

“Pretty much a nightmare,” Bill Palmer, City Councilman said.

That’s how Bill Palmer describes the effort to bring a hospital back to his community.

“We had a group come in and we felt like everything was heading in the right direction and they stalled out and it caused a lot of frustration,” Palmer said.

Frustration that Palmer said continues to build as they try and find a new partner.

“We have a group that wants to come in and talk to us about building the hospital. We also have a group that is interested in building the hospital themselves,” Palmer said.

That uncertainty has residents, and new business owners left to wonder what is going on.

“One of the first questions they ask, ‘where is the hospital?’ or ‘what step is it?’” Mayor Chancellor Wayne said.

A question Mayor Wayne admits is tough to answer.

“Giving a timeline is a double edge sword that is someone doesn’t follow that timeline, then you have people in groups that are upset in arms over it, saying in the near future this is what we want to do,” Wayne said.

“I’d really, really would like to see the hospital come back for myself and the community,” Jenelle Burnett, one resident said.

Longtime resident Burnett said since Twin Rivers Medical Center closed in 2018, she drives more than 1 hour to see a doctor.

“As a matter of fact, I just came back from a hospital visit out of town,” Burnett said.

Palmer said they also worry about cost and the possibility the city may have tackle the project itself.

Regardless of what happens next, he says they are committed to bringing services back to this empty hospital.

“I’m hoping a year from now, I’m hoping two weeks from now that you can see construction or work being done on that building over there,” Palmer said.

Palmer and Wayne say they expect to meet with other corporations this week to discuss rebuilding the hospital.

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