VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Officials say demolition of an abandoned Mississippi hospital has begun.
News outlets report a small crowd of Vicksburg city officials and residents gathered for a ceremony Wednesday to watch heavy equipment start tearing down walls of the former Kuhn Hospital.
The hospital operated for more than a century until Mississippi closed its three state charity hospitals in 1989. Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs says the closings were a mistake and limited access to affordable health care.
Owners abandoned the land and Vicksburg officials sought cleanup for more than a decade. An abducted woman's killing on the property in 2015 brought new urgency to efforts.
Flaggs says a residential, retail and recreation facility will be built on the site's 12.8 acres (5.2 hectares). Officials hope to have demolition finished by March 9.