MOULTRIE -- There seem to be no takers who would invest money into the old Vereen Memorial Hospital. The wrecking ball may be next.

A task force meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4 at which time that panel may make a recommendation relative to the fate of the former hospital, which served the past 30 years as a governmental building.

"We're getting into the short rows of this matter," said Jim Lowry, Colquitt Regional Medical Center administrator.

The old facility is technically the property of the Colquitt County Hospital Authority, but early on this year the authority asked the community as a whole to be a part of the decision as to what would become of the building and five acres of property on South Main Street.

City and county officials along with other community leaders joined the authority in a due diligence effort to see if there were other viable uses for the property.

At this point, the Georgia Real Estate Trust has not been interested, nor has Abraham Baldwin College. Local realtors have not been able to find a market for the old structure.

Clarence Lowe, hospital authority member, noted earlier this year that renovation costs would be great largely due to the small rooms and the fact that most of the walls are load bearing and cannot be easily torn out.

In a meeting in late summer, Louie Perry, also a hospital board member, said he hoped that the building could be used by the university system, noting that a large number of students were turned away at the University of Georgia last spring.

Still, no one has come forth from any colleges with expansion plans.

Lowry said he does not favor letting this matter drag on indefinitely, that something must be decided.

There has been talk of saving the front portion of the structure for a museum and using the rest of the property as a community park. That idea may be on the table on Dec. 4.

In case demolition is the course taken, Lowry said meetings already have been held with City Manager Bob Hopkins and County Administrator Billy Mock on the possibility of in-kind services toward that end.

Lowry said the issue has about reached the point where if anyone has a viable use for the structure "it's time to speak up or forever hold your peace."

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