Woody Wheeless sees new day rising in West Memphis

In a Q&A with Arkansas Business, Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless discusses advantages and disadvantages of being across the river from Memphis, the impact of the county hospital closing, economic development, and more.

By Arkansas Business Staff

What’s the advantage of being across the river from Memphis? What are the disadvantages?
The biggest advantage is the cost of living is cheaper here. Also, our crime rate is not nearly as high as Memphis and the surrounding areas. The biggest disadvantage is that because our population is so small we don’t offer the chain businesses, like Dillard’s and Macy’s, so people have to go to Memphis if they want shopping of that nature.

What has the impact been of the county’s only hospital closing in 2014, with a new hospital not expected to open until next year?
We’ve had a major negative impact with the hospital closing. It has put a major burden on our emergency services, the private ambulance services that are in our county now. They’re used to going and picking up a patient and dropping him off at the local hospital and being back in service in about 30 minutes. And now that’s anywhere from two to six hours.

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