The Booneville City Council last week approved a bid from Turning Point Ministries to operate a rehabilitation facility in the west wing of the city owned old hospital.

Turning Point pastor Jeremy Smith had addressed the council about the possibility of using the building back in March. The west wing is the newer of the wings of the old hospital.

For legal purposes the city opened use of the facility to anyone through a bid process but only Turning Point officials submitted a proposal. Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins said it would have been hard to top.

"You’re not going to beat this bid," Wilkins said before reading it to aldermen.

In the bid, signed by Smith, Turning Point said it will be responsible for a myriad of issues with the building including repairing leaks to the west wing roof, replacing all ceiling tiles in the wing, building a residential kitchen in the wing and building a wall to separate the wing from the remainder of the hospital.

Also on the list are supplying a heat and air unit, maintaining flower beds and all maintenance to the portion Turning Point will be using.

All that and the ministry will pay the city $100 per month for use of the building.

"That’s a pretty good bid," alderman Eddie Gossett said.

Wilkins indicated he had spoken to hospital officials about the possibility but chief executive officer C. David Hill did not recall such a conversation. However, Hill voiced no opposition adding "It sounds pretty good to me."

"They’ve done this before. They live right here in town," said Wilkins. "We’ve had no problems at all with them. I know the people who are behind this and they do what they say they will do. They’re Christian, wonderful people."

Shawna Porter, who represented the ministry — said Smith was out of town due to a death in the family — said the move would be beneficial to the community.

"When people drive through they’re going to see life around there," said Porter. "That’s the first impression of Booneville when they come in they’re going to be seeing things. We’ve got some rough areas coming through it would be nice to have something nice."

When Smith addressed the council in March he said Turning Point has been operating a home in Booneville for about a year but the home the organization is currently using has been sold.

"It’s a Christian men’s transitional home where we take guys in who want to change their lives," said Smith. "Train them up in the ways of the Lord. What we’re doing is taking them to church and teaching them how to get up and pray."

The program typically lasts a year and Smith said he underwent a similar program himself so he knows it works.

Those enrolled in the program have also done so of their own will and there is no up-front cost associated with the program.

The rehabilitation idea is the third different possibility for the old hospital. Previous ideas have included an in-patient psychiatric ward and another was an out-patient geriatric psychiatric unit.

The portion of the facility in which Turning Point is interested was asbestos renovated in preparation for use as a psychiatric facility but water damage ruined tiles in a portion of the wing and continued financial woes prevented the project from getting off the ground.