Last night’s neighborhood meeting to hear the City’s consultants discuss their initial plans for what to do when Capital Health System (CHS) leaves the Ward was a good first step. It’s clear that CHS and the City are putting a lot of thought into their plans. It’s also clear from comments and reactions last night that the plans need a lot of work.
Residents are concerned that a plan that potentially adds so many new housing units in a neighborhood already in great need of restoration of existing housing stock might create a glut. And large numbers of densely-packed rental units are not desired either.
Retail is a nice idea in theory, but when the retail plaza a couple of blocks away on Hermitage is struggling, that concept may be a little ambitious.
Still there were many good ideas last night, including one resident’s suggestion that CHS could help to provide some neighborhood amenities and improvements NOW in order to make the area more attractive now to draw interest from outside developers. Sounds good to me!
The closure of CHS Mercer Campus is a huge blow to the Ward. But it’s also a huge opportunity to the people of the neighborhood and the whole City if the re-development of the area is done right.
Making sure that it’s done right will be a major goal for the City, and should be the single most important Ward issue for the new Council member for the West.
It will be for me.