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Renovation plans for former hospital hit snag

Plans to renovate the former St Elizabeth’s Hospital in Hannibal have hit a huge snag.

When you drive by the building you can see the boarded up doors, there’s broken glass everywhere because of busted out windows. But the city says they aren’t quite ready to demolish this building, residents however, say they’re tired of waiting for something to be done.

The hospital is the eyesore of the Broadway corridor.

“Kids come and ride their bikes all the times,” said Resident Pam Neff. There’s broken glass from the windows, the graffiti, it’s pretty nasty. I’m sick of it.”

The city has an investor lined up to renovate the building into apartments for low-income seniors. But, the Missouri Housing Development Commission denied tax credits investors say they needed to make that happen.

“They actually had a really good plan,” said Hannibal City Manager Jeff LaGarce. “The Missouri Housing Development Commission staff really liked their plan. They thought it was a really good plan. The problem is they have more applications than they have tax credits for.”

LaGarce says the investors plan to resubmit for the same tax credits next year, and because of that he says the city has no plans to demolish the building anytime soon.

“We would be foolish to go out and demolish that site,” said LaGarce. “We would not only spend a million dollars of Hannibal residents’ and business’s money, money we really don’t have to spend for that purpose, but we would be averting the opportunity to have something good happen on that site as well.”

But residents say its frustrating to know they’ll be looking at the building for at least another year.

“As long as they continue to have this in our neighborhood, the drugs are not going to get any better,” said Neff. “The crime is not going to get any better because they’re approving it by saying here you go, live in it. Make yourselves happy and do whatever you want.”

Investors will apply for those tax credits in the spring. The city is set to receive a $200,000 grant to remove asbestos from the building but they aren’t sure when that work will take place.

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Alexandra Carter

WGEM News Anchor

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