County EDC contributes to memory center project

By Larry Tucker
Posted 6/30/22

The Wood County Economic Development Commission approved a substantial donation to the Center for Memory and Health Education to be constructed on 29 acres east of the UT Health Quitman Hospital.

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County EDC contributes to memory center project


The Wood County Economic Development Commission approved a substantial donation to the Center for Memory and Health Education to be constructed on 29 acres east of the UT Health Quitman Hospital.

The board approved a $50,000 donation for the pre-development part of the project. The center is a regional opportunity to create a central hub for brain health. It will focus on education, training, diagnostics, treatment and care to serve as a model for brain healthcare.

WCEDC board member Craig Lindholm has been working with Quitman Mayor Randy Dunn and Wood County Central Hospital Board members Annette Simpkins and Orval Lindsey.

“We have met with the leadership team and gone over a market study and concept design. UT-Tyler and UT med school have expressed interest in the project,” Lindholm said. “I think we are making tremendous progress right now where we have what we need to bring an architect locally. It is not going to be assisted living. It will enhance the quality of life and memory care.”

Executive Director Christophe Trahan reported on the economic impact of the recent BassMasters fishing tournament. The number of spectators was over 3,000 for the two-day festival May 21 and 22. The total impact for the Lake Fork area (Wood, Hopkins, Rains counties) was $2,710,870. The impact on Wood County was $903,623.

Trahan reported the Rural, Set, Go employer program was a success with a packed house at the Instant Office’s large meeting room June 7.

Registrants included local government (cities of Quitman and Mineola), local school districts (Quitman and Mineola), Jarvis Christian University and Tyler Junior College. Also attending were local industries in real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and retail, Trahan said.

Regional workforce programs available in Wood County were discussed. That included Work Experience Internship where program participants are paid by Workforce for u to 300 hours to develop skills with a local employer. Also included were On-The-Job Training Partnership” which provides employer’s partial reimbursement for training new full-time employees, and Occupational Skills Training which provides funding for eligible individuals to acquire occupational licensing, certificates and some degrees.

Trahan informed the board the UT Health Fair at Jim Hogg City Park in Quitman had 250 people attending. Just over 100 people took part in the free health screenings provided at Carroll Greene Civic Center. The mobile mammogram unit stationed in front of the Stinson House was booked to capacity serving 25 individuals.

UT Health displayed the Euro-copter EC-135 as part of the event. They allowed visitors to tour the helicopter and allow the crew to explain the functions they perform.

Lee Smith reported on the infrastructure committee.

“What has happened is another vendor to approach the county and wanted to propose a solution across the county. We invited them to come to the commissioners in a workshop form,” Smith said. It’s a company called Next Link and they do fiber and primarily wireless internet. They made an interesting proposal to the commissioners.”

In light of the previous tragedy in Uvalde at Robb Elementary School, Public Safety Committee Chairman Tom Callan talked about school safety.

“There is a plan at Hawkins where a group of fathers volunteer one day every so often just to sit in front of the school to eyeball every single person who comes in with some criteria on what to look for. It is a discouragement for someone wanting to get in,” Callan said. “Something as simple as noticing a door at the school is left open is important. If we can increase awareness and get parents involved. At one time, Quitman Elementary School had fathers just be there during the school day and walk the halls, not armed, but just as a reassurance to the kids that parents were involved in looking out for them.”

The next WCEDC meeting will be at noon July 27 at a location to be announced later.