St. Jude’s hospital asks Haslam for state aid

Leaders of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital met with Gov. Bill Haslam Wednesday and asked for state help in its multi-million dollar expansion plans, reports the Commercial Appeal.

“They would like us to have some sort of skin in the game with them,” Haslam told The Commercial Appeal Thursday. “I’m sure the city and the county, too. I don’t know yet what that will look like. We’re not that far down the road.”

Haslam characterized the meeting as largely informational and preliminary as it concerned the high-profile children’s cancer hospital’s expansion plans, which are large in scope. Haslam wouldn’t name who participated in the meeting, but added, smiling, “there were a few Memphis citizens there.”

In recent interviews, St. Jude officials have characterized the expansion plans in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

… Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said he wasn’t privy to the details of Wednesday’s meeting and that St. Jude has made no requests of the city for financial assistance. “I will simply say that I am quite aware of St. Jude’s plans for their campus and that those plans mesh well with the city’s overall view of what needs to occur around their campus and the whole north end,” Wharton said. “We’re supportive and look forward to working with them.”

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said that while he was aware of the hospital’s expansion plans, “there have not been any discussions within my office with St. Jude,” he said, regarding the potential “help” Haslam was referencing.

“I would welcome a discussion with them. … They’re certainly a valuable asset,” he said.