Opposes MGH move

To the Journal editor:

During my first-class experience at the Marquette General Hospital’s Family Birthing Center days ago, I celebrated the joyous birth of my new daughter and began mourning the impending loss of our fantastic, community-centered hospital, news recently announced and celebrated by The Mining Journal.

I find the justification for extracting MGH from the heart of the city to be weak and short-sighted.

By now we all realize that sprawling, big-box development is a community wrecker, a mistake of the late 20th century. To “design for the future,” we must have a sustainable, community-centered approach.

This means having a hospital designed so that employees can walk or bike to work, located short minutes away from the neighborhood homes of doctors on call, around the corner from a vibrant local business corridor that depends heavily on the presence of MGH and working in symbiosis with nearby educational institutions.

The current MGH location does all this and more. A 40ish-acre, big-box fringe development, however new and shiny, cannot.

Renovating is reportedly $60 million cheaper (and more sustainable) than building new, and with some ingenuity, can be just as functional and impressive as new construction.

Further, it will require no destruction of existing forest land, no huge new surface parking lots, and no pressure to rethink and revamp public roadways. It will not leave a gaping hole in the heart of our community.

If this were an announcement for plans for a new public high school, the public would undoubtedly vote the millage down.

Though not up for a vote, a new MGH development is no less a tax imposed upon its users, hidden through increases in cost of care and the ever-continued rise in health insurance. We should be under no illusions. With this economic gift, it’s ultimately us footing the bill and it’ll cost us more than just money.

I urge MGH to reconsider their plans and place the true interests of the community at heart. The smallest of our residents deserve to grow to see a strong, vibrant and sustainable Marquette.

As the largest employer in the U.P., the responsibility to set the tone for a truly sustainable “design for the future” is largely in your hands. MGH, please help Marquette grow up, not out.

Jacob Fether