Money from Boone Hospital Agreement Will Go Toward Airport
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Commission and the Boone Hospital Center Board of Trustees reached an agreement Tuesday to extend the hospital's lease with BJC Healthcare through 2020.
With the lease's approval, BJC Healthcare will make a $1 million donation to Boone County. Half of the donation money will be put into an escrow account to help guarantee service at Columbia Regional Airport, which is one tool for physician recruitment.
Mayor Bob McDavid said the airport is planning to add another airline service. McDavid said the money is a source of backup funds but will not be needed.
"I'm committed to being certain none of that money is spent," said McDavid. "We have a broad based group of support from the private sector and the public sector.
Cynthia Sees, a nurse at Boone County Hospital, said if a new airline came to the airport she would use it for both work trips and vacation.
"I might go there for business. I'm a nurse, if there was a conference or something like that it would be a quick flight," Sees said.
Sees said even if a flight out of the Columbia Regional Airport cost extra she would still fly out of the airport.
"It would save a lot of driving time, so we figure it would be worth it," Sees said. "I think it would be utilized by a lot of people."
The Boone County Commission will decide how to use the remaining $500,000 of the funds. The county will continue receiving the annual $1.6 million lease payments.