For the Tyler area, 2017 was a year for sweeping changes. From a changing medical landscape to turnover in new businesses, Tyler has seen a lot of growth this year.

Those changes are perhaps most apparent when looking at the biggest stories of the year on Tylerpaper.com.

Hospital changes

In May, the Justice Department moved forward in its suit against ETMC over a kickback scheme involving Paramedics Plus. According to a whistleblower, ETMC and Paramedics Plus paid as much as $20 million in cash payments to keep lucrative contracts in Oklahoma.

Just a few months later, the hospital system announced it was being acquired by Ardent Health Services for an undisclosed amount. It also was announced that the University of Texas would be a partner in this deal, which will eventually make ETMC part of the UT Health System.

Tyler ISD

In the next biggest transaction of the year, Tyler voters approved the largest ever bond package for Tyler ISD. Voters approved a $198 million high school renovation plan, which will see John Tyler and Robert E. Lee High Schools rebuilt from the ground up. Both facilities will come in at more than 400,000 square-feet, with capacity for 2,750 students. The Lee campus will be shifted south, facing Donnybrook Avenue and Shiloh Road. John Tyler will be rebuilt around the framework of the school’s 1981 renovation after a fire destroyed the original building. Construction has already started.

The promise of almost completely new schools, coupled with a nationwide movement to remove confederate monuments and imagery prompted a group of Tyler residents to call on the district to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School.

Hundreds showed up to an August board meeting, with more than 40 speaking in favor and against changing the name. The majority of the board signaled support for a name change, but a concrete plan has not been put forth.

Weather

After tornados ravaged Van Zandt and Henderson Counties, injuring more than 50, communities came together to help rebuild. Former Dallas Cowboys Star Deion Sanders, who owns a home in Van Zandt County, hosted a fund raising shopping spree at Sam’s Club in Tyler.

Business

Big changes also reshaped the retail and restaurant landscape of Tyler in 2017. After a proposed movie theater and entertainment complex turned out to be a nonstarter, Time Square Cinema saw the desire for a multifaceted entertainment option and stepped up to the plate. The locally owned business will expand to include 22 lanes of bowling, interactive and themed laser tag, a full gaming complex, party rooms and a restaurant with a bar. The arcade portion of the complex opened in December.

In Lindale, the Cannery development saw huge growth with several businesses and Tyler Junior College’s North Campus calling the area home.

Unfortunately 2017 also saw the closure of many restaurants, prompting the Tyler Paper to take a look at the ever-revolving boom and bust of eateries in Tyler.

To see stories of the year in other categories, visit TylerPaper.com

Twitter: @TMT_Cory

Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.

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