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A welcome new neighbor

Dr. John Johnson sees promise in what others have abandoned.

Alecto Healthcare Services closed East Ohio Regional Hospital in 2019. Johnson bought it. Just last week, the facility reopened its doors.

Johnson also bought the landmark Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel building in downtown Wheeling, which had been vacant for years. He’ll work with developer Steve Coon to turn it into a new apartment building, with the city constructing a new parking facility close by.

The total project will be as much as a $31 million investment in the city’s future.

Too often in recent years, the Ohio Valley has seen businesses and people depart, seeking fortune elsewhere while the people who remain try to fill the holes left in the community.

Johnson, though, looks around and sees potential. He sees a community aching for someone to invest in good people, and he has done that on both sides of the Ohio River.

It appears that’s just who Johnson is — a man whose mission it is to help others. As a veteran psychiatrist, it’s his vocation. Yet it isn’t enough for him to help just one person at a time. He wants to help as many people as he can — as quickly as he can.

He built Access Ohio into one of the largest independent behavioral health centers in the state. His Access Hospital is a 110-bed inpatient psychiatric facility. By bringing back EORH, he gives the people of our region another option for quality health care. He wants to renovate the Wheeling-Pitt building to help revitalize the Friendly City.

In all these projects, Johnson says he’s not here to swoop in, build, then vanish. He wants to create things that will last.

“Psychiatry has taught me the value of patience,” he told our reporter. “Changes in human behavior cannot be achieved with quick fixes, and instead require constant attention and persistence. So as with other endeavors of mine, I am in it for the long haul.”

Johnson may not live full-time in the Ohio Valley, but he has proven to be a fantastic neighbor in a short period of time.

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