“Through My Eyes”-A Missouri Community Gets a New Hospital With USDA and Recovery Act Funding Support
I am winding through rural roads in extreme northwest Missouri, away from any large city, in the middle of the country, basically out in the middle of nowhere as some would say, and I am thinking about the investment Rural Development is making; thinking about the amount of money we have provided to the community of Fairfax, population 645 and the county of Atchison, population 6,430. The total investment is almost $39 million for a new hospital, regional wholesale water system, and city distribution system.
I drive down the main street of Fairfax past the old Community Hospital which opened in 1949. I am on my way to the open house of the newly constructed Community Hospital of Fairfax which will open up in two weeks. The new hospital is located on the top of a large hill overlooking a beautiful rural setting of corn fields, trees, and valleys. The new Critical Access Hospital will provide comprehensive patient care including acute care, 24-hour emergency services, and obstetrics, as well as physical, occupational and speech therapies and home health care. But what I notice is the state-of-the-art private inpatient rooms, each with a large picture window looking out at the view of the country-side. I not only think of the medical care that will take place in this hospital but also the mental healing that such a peaceful, rural setting can provide. USDA Rural Development provided Community Facilities loan for the construction of the facility and additional funds were provided by the hospital and their Community Health Care Foundation.
The open house brings a crowd of over 400 individuals to celebrate this grand opening. The new hospital preserves about 120 jobs in the community.
Later in the day, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds were provided to Atchison County Wholesale Water Commission for a regional water system that will sell water to three communities, including the area where the hospital is located. USDA Water Program Recovery Act funds were provided to the city to make distribution system improvements.
As I drive home from the events and celebrations of the day I continue to think about how something of this magnitude happened in this small area, and what it means to the rural residents of the northwest corner of Missouri. It becomes pretty clear the hospital would not have happened without the water improvements, the water district would not have been successful without the hospital to justify the costs to the end users, and none of that would have happened without the Recovery Act.