Letter to the Editor:

My heart sank when I read the article last month that WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital pulled the plug on a detox unit planned for the Harrison/Bohandy Building. Privately, I followed the proposed development over the past couple of years believing the hospital-village collaboration was another progressive, pro-active step in a three-decades long run of public-private efforts enhancing the town.

By investing in the downtown, the town’s image and the value of ALL property in the community has greatly benefited. Barnesville is an attractive community today, the envy of many other towns in the region.

This investment has also positively benefited Barnesville Hospital and the health care industry, certainly a significant component of the local economy.

While we are grateful for the new management agreement with WVU Medicine, perhaps it is time to revisit how Barnesville Hospital came to be 80 years ago in 1940. Like much of the infrastructure that exists in our community today, it came about organically. The hospital, memorial park and many other amenities taken for granted today evolved from community-initiated grass roots efforts.

This self-initiated, can-do attitude has benefited Barnesville Hospital. Time and time again, the village of Barnesville stepped up, acted as fiscal agent, and issued government bonds for the hospital. And, perhaps, because of this, our hospital is the only remaining primary care facility in Belmont County today. A mere 13 months ago there were three hospitals in Belmont County. The village of Barnesville and Barnesville Hospital have cooperated for the mutual benefit of the other for eight decades.

Imagine, then, my surprise when I read last week that the hospital: (1) still intends to develop the detox unit and, (2) is looking for another building.

The Barnesville community is known for its cooperative and progressive spirit. We see this in our local school system, our parks, our downtown, our chamber of commerce and in many other ways. With that spirit in mind, I urge hospital and village leaders to resume negotiations to see if the win-win situation originally envisioned may still come about. The announcement this week that WVU Medicine’s CEO will be the featured speaker at the Chamber Spring Banquet on April 30 offers a unique opportunity to showcase our community and hopefully get this project back on track.

If you agree with me, please consider reaching out to the hospital at 740-425-3941 or send a message online at http://www.barnesvillehospital.com/contact-us/ urging the same.

Yours,

Bruce Yarnall

Former general manager, Barnesville Enterprise

Mount Rainier, MD

(202) 236-5633 (C)

(301) 277-7085 (W)

(202) 442-8835

email: bruce.yarnall@outlook.com