OLIVE BRANCH, MS (abc24.com) - Olive Branch is working to become the next medical district in the Mid-South. Methodist is building the town's first hospital, set to open next June. In the meantime other companies are giving Olive Branch a closer look. That means one thing: jobs.
"Our medical hub certainly is not going to be as large as Memphis, but we've fought for a community hospital for a number of years now. It's finally coming to pass," says Mayor Sam Rikard.
It's far from finished, but the hospital's already changing the landscape in town.
"We probably don't even know how many jobs that will bring to the area," Rikard says.
At least 225 new ones were announced this week. A medical equipment supplier is opening a distribution center in Olive Branch. The future hospital is one of the reasons why.
"If you're within a five mile circle of a hospital you qualify as being in a medical district." Rikard explains that creates extra incentives for businesses. He expects the announcements to keep coming and the jobs to keep growing.
"The hospital will bring 400 or so permanent jobs. When you involve all the other industries that we think will build around the hospital, the spin off jobs created will be in the thousands. We'll see a major transformation in the next five years."