Cross the annual tree lighting off the community calendar if the expansion of Henry Mayo is approved; faux picket fences offer little protection against Master Plans.
While few Claritans would willingly go to Henry Mayo Hospital with Holy Cross and UCLA less than an hour away, most agree that bringing more medical offices and hospital space to SCV is a good thing. After all, the community is growing. We need places to treat those who O.D. on meth in Canyon Country or get shanked in Newhall, and Henry Mayo will do just fine in a pinch.
What people don’t agree upon is how appropriate such a massive building project is at the present hospital site. There are residential neighborhoods immediately abutting HMNMH that might not be thrilled with multi-level parking structures and noisy medical copters replacing the quiet bank of trees they presently enjoy. Furthermore, McBean Parkway would become even more congested with traffic than it is at present with the doubling of hospital/office square footage proposed under the revised Master Plan. At what stage in that plan the hospital makes itself more attractive to local residents I’m not entirely sure.
The revised Master Plan—shown below—hasn’t made (m)any local residents’ concerns go away. It’s essentially just focused on improving parking and ease of entry/exit at the hospital. Whether enough has changed to allay the fears of the City Council remains to be seen.
No one, however, has stood out more than Council Member Frank Ferry. In July, he memorably bellowed “You don’t attack city staff who has [sic] given their life for this community! You kill me, dude.” This was in response to fellow Council Member Tim Ben Boydston’s suggestion of inappropriate cooperation between hospital officials and the City. But the quotable Ferry doesn’t stop there. Showcasing typical brilliance, he said of homes near the hospital "I would bet the home values of the nearby homes would increase, not decrease” . The always possible escape of Pitchess Detention Center inmates from the hospital, however, might slow Frank’s anticipated rise in property value. (In 2004, one area man was rewarded for his proximity to Henry Mayo by being beaten with a steel barbecue brush wielded by an escaped maximum-security inmate wearing only flip flops and a hospital gown.) It’s hard to say if Ferry’s ignorance is willful or natural, but regardless, it seems that he might just be a little bit pro-expansion.
If one stays well away from the distracting minutiae of the hospital project, it’s really not that complicated of a problem. Determining an ideal solution, however, is impossibly complicated. It requires striking a balance between the hospital’s profit motives, the need to serve the community, and impacts on residents, traffic flow, and the environment. This, of course, means that the expansion plan will win out in the end.
The community will need a lot of healing after the dust has settled on Henry Mayo’s Master Plan. Luckily, the new HMNMH comes equipped with a healing garden—I imagine it’s being installed to prove that Henry Mayo is not entirely anti-vegetation. I’ll leave you to admire an artist’s rendering of the garden. Note that it includes two people very much in need of healing having both, by the looks of things, suffered third degree burns and lost their feet.
Also from the Planning Section of the City Hall website. Go there.
The Master Plan is summarized in this PDF
See No. 2
From a June 14, 2007 Signal article by Kristopher Daams, "Hospital Plan Stalls in Council"