Editor:

I am not arguing against the concept of a mental health facility in Davidson. Mayor John Woods is passionate in the belief that Davidson owes it to the community at large to provide this facility, and there are certainly many in the community who agree.

I do believe that the Davidson East location is the wrong location.

The economic development argument revolves around:

1: The hospital will employ 155 workers who will live in Davidson and spend their pay in Davidson.

2: The hospital will encourage immediate development of small businesses such as restaurants and dry cleaners.

3: The hospital will encourage other commercial development in Davidson East.

Unfortunately,

1: Most of the workers will live and spend their paychecks in Cabarrus County.

2: Hospital workers are shift workers with very short lunch breaks and will not generate business for small restaurants or businesses.

3: Hospitals are multi-shift operations so there are never 155 workers on site during the normal operating hours of small businesses.

4: The small mental health facility will not attract any commercial development. It just doesn’t offer much to build upon.

5: Importantly, Davidson East is not accessible via mass transit. This means workers and visitors to the facility will be forced to drive along narrow overcrowded roads.

6: Davidson East is in the very farm inconvenient northeastern quadrant of the county.

7: It takes 23 acres of taxable land off the tax rolls. This will result in the loss of perhaps a $1 million of tax revenue over the next 10 years. Davidson needs that tax revenue.

The first alternative location is in the northwest quadrant of the intersection of I-77 and Griffith Street, across the street from the Harris Teeter plaza. There is sufficient land and adequate mass transit, and it is close to the interstate. Relatively affordable housing nearby might encourage workers to live in Davidson

The second location is downtown. Here’s a location that offers proximity to existing stores and restaurants and a genuine potential for development into a cluster of medical offices.

So, if the hospital is desirable, I believe the town should exercise its influence to see if CHS might consider alternative locations. It’s certainly much more attractive from an economic perspective.

– Tom MacDonald, Davidson