Neighborhoods around the closed Muhlenberg Hospital are being leafleted.
The flyers are identified as from 'Residents Uniting to Save our Homes (RUSH)', a previously unheard of group.
JFK, the remaining corporate entity after Solaris Health System closed Muhlenberg and then dissolved itself, has a proposal to build a 660-unit apartment complex on the campus of the former critical-care hospital. Though JFK has conducted a public relations blitz during this past spring, formal procedures to seek city approval have not yet begun.
However, residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the closed hospital and which would be most heavily impacted by the demolition of the current hospital buildings and construction of a massive high rise apartment complex in its place, have been keenly interested in -- and opposed to -- the project, turning out for numerous meetings at which it has been discussed.
Besides its impact on the immediate neighborhood, the whole project is tied up with continuing questions about provision of healthcare services in this city of 50,000. With the state mandate to keep the Satellite Emergency Department (SED) open set to expire in the summer of 2013 and a proposal by JFK to renovate the former nursing school dormitory Kenyon House as a new, standalone ER, concerns are quite high throughout the community.
The flyer is critical of City Council candidates Tracey Brown and Rasheed Abdul-Haqq; Brown in particular, because she spoke in favor of the project at the NAACP forum as providing needed 'affordable housing'.
It must be said that Brown clarified her position by the time she appeared at the subsequent FOSH candidate forum, saying she was opposed to the apartment proposal as it stands. (It did not mollify the audience that she was so woefully uninformed about such a serious community issue in the first place.)
The flyer appeals to area residents to consider the changes the project would wreak on the quiet residential character of the neighborhoods and suggests a negative impact on property values.
Those with long memories will recall the impact residents in the portion of the area referred to as 'The Woods' (roughly bounded by Randolph Road, Woodland and Park Avenues and South End Parkway) had in the debate surrounding the erection of a new Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall between South End Parkway and Sloane Boulevard a number of years ago.
The flyer urges voters to support Adrian Mapp for re-election to Ward 3 and Veronica 'Roni' Taylor for the citywide at-large seat. (The entire section from Randolph Road to the South Plainfield line -- including 'The Woods' -- is in Ward 3.)
-- Dan Damon [follow]
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