Belhaven mayor: Vidant promises not to demolish former Pungo Hospital

BELHAVEN, BEAUFORT COUNTY - A judge made Vidant Health and Pantego Creek, LLC promise not to do anything destructive to the property of the former Vidant Pungo Hospital, which was shut down over the summer.

Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neal said the decision came during a court hearing in Plymouth Monday morning.

On Aug. 14, a judge granted a 10-day restraining order against Vidant Health and Pantego Creek, LLC to prevent the former Vidant Pungo Hospital from being demolished.

The Town of Belhaven and the NAACP returned to court Monday after that temporary restraining order expired. During the hearing Monday morning, the judge had lawyers with Vidant and Pantego Creek, LLC promise they would keep the property status quo and would not destroy the property, said O'Neal.

Vidant cited financial reasons for shutting down Vidant Pungo Hospital on July 1. The building and property are now owned by Pantego Creek LLC.

O'Neal also told NewsChannel 12 that lawyers with Vidant have filed papers to have a federal court hear the case. But NAACP lawyers feel the federal court is going to kick it back to state court because the case involves state property and two North Carolina corporations.

Although Vidant Pungo Hospital is no longer operational, Vidant is still operating a 24/7 clinic in Belhaven, located at Vidant Family Medicine at 216 Haslin St. Since expanding its hours on July 1, the clinic has served nearly 400 patients and offers primary and urgent care, said Vidant.

Vidant said it is moving forward with plans to build a new 12,000-square-foot, $4.2 million multi-specialty clinic in Belhaven to address long-term health care needs.

The property, purchased in late 2013 by Vidant, is located at 601 Old County Road, between the Post Office and the Food Lion shopping center, south of Highway 264.

Vidant said it has filed for the building permit with the Town of Belhaven. Once approved, Vidant said it will immediately begin construction and plans to open the facility within 12 to 18 months.

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