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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

New Free Clinic project advances
Town approves waiver to create new lot in shopping center
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Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston: The new free clinic would be built in the Franklin Plaza on Route 40 West between the Family Pharmacy, left, and Dr. Charles Burt’s dental office, right.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer

Rocky Mount Town Council unanimously approved a waiver in its subdivision ordinance Monday night to create a new lot for the new Bernard Healthcare Center in the Franklin Plaza.

The new lot is between Family Pharmacy and Dr. Charles Burt's dental office in the shopping center.

The new free clinic, called the Bernard Healthcare Center, will replace the clinic on South Main Street, which the clinic has outgrown.

During a public hearing last week, the county and a business owner expressed concerns about increased water runoff from the project as well as adequate stormwater management, according to Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins. The new clinic would be located adjacent to the county's government center on Route 40 West.

On Friday, however, the Franklin County Board of Supervisors agreed to set aside $28,000 to address runoff of storm water.

Eric Ferguson, a Rocky Mount attorney who represents Bernard Healthcare Center, told town council he believes all the concerns about the project have been addressed and that the addition of the healthcare center will increase business in the shopping center.

The Free Clinic of Franklin County has provided a great service to the town and county, as will the Bernard Healthcare Center, he added.

Dr. Jennifer Braaten, president of Ferrum College, spoke Monday night on behalf of a donor who gifted $1 million for the new healthcare center. She informed council that the donor stipulated that the gift was for one year. If significant progress hadn't been made on the project in that time frame, then the gift would be withdrawn.

Burt told council he initially had concerns about water runoff, but he supports the new clinic as long as the runoff issues can be managed without negative impact to the other businesses in the shopping center.

Preliminary engineering drawings for the new healthcare center have been done, so the next step is to develop a site plan that meets requirements of the town's zoning ordinance, Hankins said.

Councilman Jerry Greer made the motion to approve the waiver from the subdivision ordinance and Councilman Gregg Walker seconded the motion.

In other matters, council:

•Approved the purchase of a replacement part for one of the town's firetrucks at a cost of $14,000.

•Approved a request by the Student Council Association of Franklin County High School to hold a homecoming parade on Thursday, Sept. 12, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The parade would step off at Coast-to-Coast parking lot on South Main Street, right on South Main, left on North Main, right on Pell Avenue, left on Tanyard Road and a final right on Perdue Lane at the high school.

 
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