OLIVE BRANCH, MS (abc24.com) - The city of Olive Branch worked for more than a decade to bring a hospital to town. Now that one's being built, there's more that goes into it than just a building. The city's spending millions to get ready.
"We need to be prepared because of what's going to happen three years from now. That's what we're doing now," says Mayor Sam Rikard.
With a prized guest coming to town, Olive Branch is rolling out the red carpet, so to speak.
The new Methodist Hospital is being built right off Highway 78, and there's plenty that needs to be done on the city's part to prepare.
"There's about four million dollars worth of infrastructure work to do around the hospital," Rikard says. "That includes water lines, gas lines and widening the roadway."
More than a million will come out of the city's pocket. The rest, "The state of Mississippi has been so gracious as to grant us about two million dollars to help," Rikard tells abc24.com.
They'll be widening Bethel Road in front of the hospital and adding a traffic light. The city's also building a new water tower.
There's not much in that part of town now, but don't expect it to stay that way for long. With everything that's being built, Rikard thinks it's going to take on a whole new shape.
"Right now it's kind of the sleepy southeast side," he says. "With the hospital locating there I think that's going to transform into a medical center community."
Rikard hopes with that, he'll be welcoming many more guests.