DAPHNE — The City of Daphne is moving ahead with plans to buy the Thomas Medical Center building next to Bayfront Park to expand recreational opportunities in the area, Mayor Robin LeJeune …
DAPHNE — The City of Daphne is moving ahead with plans to buy the Thomas Medical Center building next to Bayfront Park to expand recreational opportunities in the area, Mayor Robin LeJeune said.
The Daphne City Council voted Monday, Nov. 7 to approve the purchase of the facility. The council voted in a previous meeting to accept $4 million in state funding through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, known as GOMESA, to use to buy the site.
"We've got to get through just a couple of more little hurdle things, but that has moved forward," LeJeune said. "It's something that we've been working on for a couple of years now and with GOMESA money, grant money. We've worked that out. So, we've worked out a deal with them and moving forward with that purchase."
LeJeune said the site on U.S 98 is next to Bayfront Park. The purchase will provide more parking space for activities in the park.
"It's right there with Bayfront," LeJeune said. "So, we were talking about different ideas of what we can use that for. We do want it to be part of Bayfront. With the amphitheater going down there having that additional parking right there is great for large events that we can transfer people to and from and have great public parking right there."
City council members voted in 2021 to set aside $1 million to build a new amphitheater at Bayfront Park.
LeJeune said city officials are still discussing how to use the medical center building. Thomas Hospital still holds a lease on the site, but Daphne is working on plans for the facility as soon as the property becomes available, he said.
"As far as the building goes, we still have time to figure out what we want to do," LeJeune said. "There's talk about recreation, an indoor recreation center with basketball courts and volleyball and all that because that is a definite need."
The hospital has a three-year lease with three options to renew for one year, he said. The mayor said some of the facility should be available immediately, however.
"We're going to be able to use that property," LeJeune said. "We're going to find office space for additional storage. I mean, so we're going to be able to use the property currently. It's just as far as what the bigger use for it is. The council has not come to me to make a decision on that yet. But this is all in the infancy stages, you know, seeing the property is the key. Then we can move on from there."