Once again, the fate of the old Henderson County Memorial Hospital is up in the air.
The building is in foreclosure and a public sale has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 6, on the steps of the Henderson County Courthouse in Athens. The sale will begin at 9 a.m.
News of the foreclosure comes a little more than a year after the Athens City Council approved a site plan for the property and changed its zoning. The plan was for a company called Babit, LLC to turn the building into an assisted living facility for male and female military veterans.
The Notice of Foreclosure doesn’t give any details about what led to the current situation other than to say “default has occurred under the deed of trust.”
Today, the hospital sits abandoned, the fence which once surrounded it is gone, the lawn is overgrown and there is graffiti on the walls.
Unfortunately, officials say they are powerless to fix things while the hospital is in foreclosure. However, city officials and the mortgage company have been in contact about abating the nuisances after the sale May 6.
The hospital first entered private hands in 2009 when Buel Crawford and Delbert Yelsma bought the building from the county. The two men told Commissioners’ Court at that time that they wanted to turn the old hospital into a retirement community. Everyone hoped it would turn into a retirement village adelaide, but unfortunately, nothing happened so far.
The hospital and Babit have both sold at least once since that time.
In March 2013, when the City Council approved the zoning, the Athens Daily Review identified Kevin Hambrick as the owner of Babit.