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Members of the Development Authority of Cobb County discuss a tax abatement for a new west Cobb nursing home. From left are Smith Peck, Chairman Clark Hungerford, Karen Hallacy, Donna Rowe and Bob Morgan.

The Development Authority of Cobb County’s grants committee approved a grant of $75,000 Tuesday morning to help fund WellStar Kennestone Hospital’s new $126 million emergency department currently under construction.

The three-member committee can approve grants of up to $100,000 without going to the full authority. Committee members Donna Rowe and Bob Morgan voted in favor of the grant. The third member, Jamala McFadden, was not present.

Rowe, who has a medical background, said she thinks an area with a population as large as Cobb’s needs the type of facilities WellStar is building. She also said the new emergency department will go along with the development authority’s mission to make Cobb a draw for new businesses.

“Not only is it important to those of us who are now here, it will also be important to companies that are coming here,” she said. “Basically, they will be bringing a massive amount of human beings with them, like the elevator company (Thyssenkrupp). And they’re going to look at not only the workforce, they’re also going to look at our traffic issues, they’re going to look at health issues, do we have a response unit in the county that can respond to, let’s say there’s a disaster in one of these high-rise buildings?”

The new emergency department is set to open in the spring of 2020. Boasting four stories and 162,000 square feet, the department is set to accommodate up to 185,000 patients per year when it first opens, and that number will go up to 220,000 when work is complete.

The authority’s executive director Nelson Geter said the next step will be for him to work with WellStar to see where the donation might be spent.

“They wanted me to inquire with the requester as to whether the funds we’re donating could be used to purchase a specific piece of equipment that we will have naming rights on,” he said. “For example, if we could use the $75,000 to purchase a CT machine or an ultrasound machine.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the authority gave the thumbs-up to a request for over $24 million in tax-exempt bonds for Brickmont Assisted Living, a new senior facility including 14 acres of park slated to move into west Cobb.

The new facility is set to consist of 131 units in a two-story, 113,000-square-foot building on Dallas Highway not far from Barrett Parkway on property previously owned by the late Herbert Collins.

Authority members said they think neighbors will be happy with the project because it will preserve a hill and wooded area on the property as green space. Previous developers had planned to level the woods and hill.

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