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A healthy edition

Leaders and citizens of Hale County gathered yesterday in the open field across from Greensboro’s Lions Park to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new county health department.

After dealing with unfit conditions and inaccessibility of the current building, residents and health administrators will soon have a new place to serve the community and meet their needs.

“The building here now is old and cramped. There is no parking and it didn’t meet the needs of the citizens,” state health officer Donald Williamson said. “This building will give us the opportunity to provide more parking space and eight exams rooms, instead of the three we have now. That will ensure that our patients are served in a timely manner by shortening the waiting time and improving service.”

Among the group of familiar faces was probate judge Leland Avery, Sheriff Larry Johnson, Greensboro City Council members Johnnie Davis and Valada Paige-Banks, Hale County commissioner Yolanda Watkins, and Hale County Health Department administrator Ashvin Parikh.

“This is just another thing the families of Hale County really need. Things like this let you know that the county is really on the move,” Davis said. “This is a great asset to the community and we are really thankful to the probate judge, Mr. (Bobby) Singleton, Mr. (Ralph) Howard, and the commissioners for making this happen.”

The new building will also have a community room which citizen groups and residents will be able to use for meetings and events.

“It’s a great project and I am really looking forward to it,” Watkins said. “The community room will really be a great service to the community.”

But area leaders expect the entire state-of-the art structure designed by Tuscaloosa’s Ellis Architects to give the area a much-needed boost in the move toward community betterment.

“Regardless of the turmoil with voting and everything here in Hale County,” Davis said. “Things will change.”

Parikh expects the 8,000 square-foot building to be completed by July 2007.

“I want to thank each and every one of you for coming today and sharing this special day with us,” Parikh told the crowd. “Without the join efforts of both public officials and people like you, we could not have met the needs of the citizens of Hale County.”