St. Elizabeth Hospital redevelopment project on hold

More delays to convert the former St. Elizabeth Hospital in Hannibal into low income senior housing.

With broken windows, a crumbling roof and boarded up doors, the old St. Elizabeth hospital in Hannibal is an eyesore that lingers for nearby residents.

"When people come into the city and they drive down the main drag, which is Broadway, they see this building and that represents Hannibal. this building right now is representing Hannibal and I’m sure when they look at that building, they go what kind of city is this?" stated Lenny Eugene Clark who lives next to the old hospital.

The city has a developer that wants to turn the former hospital into low income housing for senior citizens but they are waiting on the state to decide which developments will receive a tax break.

"Here’s the problem, the Missouri housing development commission hasn’t met all summer. they were supposed to meet on June 14th but they haven’t met. They tentatively scheduled late July but that got kicked. Right now they’re talking late September," said city manager Jeff LaGarce.

Delays because of former governor Eric Greitens resigning, LaGarce said, plus a lawsuit over the choice of a new leiutenant governor.

He said without a tax break, the proposed $10 million dollar project won’t happen.

The city recently paid about $50,000 dollars of back taxes still owed on the property. Had the city not paid that, they were at risk of losing the building and the investment.

"This property because it was so many years tax delinquent, was risking going to county auction on the tax forfeiture block," said LaGarce.

But residents simply want to see the state take action so renovations can begin.

"I don’t care if they come over with a small hammer and start tapping on some breaks and start doing something as far as the renovations. Some kind of movement other than trying to cut the grass or board up the windows the best they can," said Clark.

The state is expected to meet in late September but an official date has not been set. The property developers have told the city if they don’t get the tax credit this year, they will reapply next year.

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