HealthSouth set to make local impact

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, July 24, 2012

For too long, the large lot between the Shelby County Services building and the Pelham tank farm exit off Interstate 65 has stood empty.

While there are several smaller businesses on that side of Shelby County 52, there has been a lack of an anchor spurring economic development in the lots near the county services building — until now.

The area should soon get a major jumpstart, as Pelham got the news last week that the state has approved a plan for HealthSouth to move forward with constructing a new inpatient rehabilitation hospital on the currently vacant lot.

While the state last week only approved 17 of the 34 beds HealthSouth is looking to bring to the rehab hospital, the company is planning to move forward with constructing a facility capable of housing 34 beds.

HealthSouth already owns the 17 additional beds needed to fill out the rehab hospital, but will have to obtain state approval to move the beds to Shelby County — a request that was submitted to the state Health Planning and Development Agency back in 2009.

The new hospital will likely help spur future development along Shelby County 52 and along the Highway 11 corridor, which should be Pelham’s next high-growth area.

More importantly, it sounds like those in Shelby County in need of long-term rehabilitation from surgery or injury will have easier access to those services after the HealthSouth hospital is completed.

Currently, most seeking those services must drive to HealthSouth’s Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital in Birmingham, if not farther.

This project should have an impact on surrounding communities, both in terms of economic health and quality of life improvement. Shelby County will become a destination for long-term rehab services, rather than a place to pass through while driving to those services.

We applaud HealthSouth for choosing Pelham and Shelby County for this project, as well as those in Pelham who worked to make the project a reality.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.