What should become of the old Crosby Memorial Hospital property once the building is demolished? That's the question Picayune city leaders will ask its residents to answer in the coming months. Right now the possibilities for the five acre site are endless.
The city recently purchased the old hospital building for $200,000 and has already entered a contract to have the building demolished. But before the building comes down, interior salvage work will be done. The entire process should take about three month to complete.
"It will be bittersweet," said Picayune City Manager Jim Luke. "The hospital has been here for nearly 60 years. A lot of people were born here, a lot of people worked here. But on the other hand, we think it will be great for the future of Picayune."
"Our vision is to make this five acres green space for perpetual use by the citizens of Picayune," explained Mayor Ed Pinero.
One of the ideas is to turn the green space into a park. Ideas on how it should be developed are already coming in from residents.
"Some of the ideas that we've heard, plant additional trees, but also add an amphitheater. It's not going to be a playground. We have Friendship Park, we have JP Johnson Park, we have parks on the east side. This is going to be an entertainment and leisure park," said Pinero.
"If someone wanted to have a gospel sing or maybe movies on the grass, maybe for an outdoor play, that's one idea being pitched around. And for the safety of people who walk on Memorial Boulevard, maybe a walking track," explained Luke.
City leaders say the last thing they want to see happen is the building and property become an eyesore.
The mayor said, "Our biggest concern was not to have a blighted property right in the heart of our city."
The city will host a series of public meetings later this year to solicit other ideas for the property. Bricks from the building will be handed out to residents as mementos.
The building became vacant when a new hospital was built on Highway 11 in North Picayune.
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