Letter To The Editor Tennova – Jefferson City Government Seizing Land Owned by Tax Paying Businesses and Misuse of our Tax Dollars

Ben Ridder, CEO Tennova Jefferson Memorial Hospital

Dear community stakeholders,

We are asking for your help with a serious matter and want to share with you more insight into recent media stories you may have seen about the City’s desire for land our hospital owns.

Earlier this year, in response to queries from the City, we expressed our willingness to sell a portion of the 95 acres of land the hospital owns to the City for a new recreational park. In conversations since that time, the City has remained fixed on buying the entire property at a price lower than what we paid in 1998. We sent another written proposal to the City in late September, offering to sell 65 acres at fair compensation, providing the City with land for a park and leaving land for us to grow in the future.

Instead of responding to us directly, last Monday, three of our elected officials voted to approve a resolution authorizing the City to pursue seizing all 95 acres of our land through eminent domain. Pursuit of this action would threaten our ability to grow to meet the evolving healthcare needs of our community. It was — and still is – essential that we retain some of the land for future growth opportunities.

This vote is disturbing because use of eminent domain is not necessary — we are willing to sell a significant portion of the land.

Another concern is whether the city council’s desire for a new park reflects the wishes of Jefferson City residents, since a recent community survey conducted by Jefferson City Government found that the top priority for nearly 60% of respondents was for the City to improve existing parks.

On November 21st at 5 pm, we invite you to join us at the city council work session at City Hall to speak out against the city government seizing land owned by tax paying businesses and this misuse of our tax dollars. Jefferson Memorial’s economic impact was over $70 million in 2022, including $2.2 million in property, sales and gross receipt taxes and $1.7 million in rent paid directly to Jefferson City and Jefferson County. The council members who did not vote for the seizure are Vice City Mayor Kevin Bunch and Councilwoman Sheila Purkey and we appreciate their support.

Even if you cannot attend, we are asking all concerned citizens, landowners, and business owners to contact the Mayor’s office and our council members and ask them not to pursue this course of action. If they move ahead with eminent domain to take away our hospital’s ability to grow future healthcare resources, whose property will they will take next?

City Council Members who voted in favor to approve a resolution authorizing the City to pursue eminent domain for all 95 acres:

Jefferson City Government
112 City Center Drive
P.O. Box 530
Jefferson City, TN 37760

Mayor Mitch Cain: mayor@jeffcitytn.com

Rocky Milton: rmelton@jeffcitytn.com

Ailene Combs: acombs@jeffcitytn.com

Ben Ridder, CEO Tennova Jefferson Memorial Hospital