Monday’s city council meeting largely focused on the possibility of a children’s hospital in the North Boulevard site near the Diamond and Scott's Addition. After listening to supporters of the children's hospital, but nevertheless reiterating the necessity for action, the Council delayed vote on the proposed resolution until the July 27th meeting.
North Boulevard Development/ Children's Hospital - Res. No. 2014-R184:
During citizen comments, many expressed opposition towards the resolution fearing it would undermine the development of a children’s hospital. This comes soon after the fate of the potential project became even murkier, when VCU and Bon Secours dropped their interest. Around a dozen citizens spoke during Citizen comments (mostly pediatricians and 1st district residents) and a crowd of around 40 people expressed their continued support for the project despite VCU and Bon Secours' hesitation. Common concerns included a lack of proper care in surrounding hospitals resulting in out-of-state trips to hospitals, a comprehensive site with all services in one building (“talent under one roof” as one advocate put it), and the prioritization of children’s needs. One citizen specifically asked the council to hold off on requests for proposals until the development of the children’s hospital becomes clear.
Council members had mixed reactions. While all members thanked the advocates for their concerns, some were hesitant to delay further options for the Boulevard site from being presented. The paper, “begins a process for people to discuss how this space in the Boulevard ought to be spent,” explained Mr. Samuels. However, he specified that it is neither conclusive nor prohibits the children’s hospital. Echoing Samuels' thoughts, Mr. Agelasto asked the advocates to present options to the council and “make a proposal to the public.” However, the lack of specificity in the paper regarding the children’s hospital also caused Mrs. Robinson and Dr. Newbille to state their opposition to the paper. Mrs. Robinson even stated the Boulevard “is the ideal site” for the hospital.
Amid these conversations, Mr. Hilbert proposed to delay the vote for the resolution for 30 days, a date which was then extended to the July 27th City Council Meeting. The advocates for the children’s hospital verbalized their support for the motion. However, the council seemed convinced that they could not wait for long. “A decision has to be made, one way or the other,” said Ms. Graziano.
Further coverage on the hospital and city council meeting: