Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Closer to a Reprieve for the VA Footprint?

There's certainly a glimmer of hope to be found in the big news out of Baton Rouge today:

Moments ago, by a 7-3 vote, the Commission on Streamlining Government passed a motion ordering an independent study weighing all possible alternatives to, and the efficacy of, the proposed $1.2 billion LSU medical complex. The study will represent the first ever independent analysis in the ongoing controversy over the abandonment of Charity Hospital and new plans to expropriate and demolish private property in Lower Mid-City to make way for a sprawling new medical center campus.

As Save Charity notes, this will be the first state-commissioned independent study on the issue.

Additionally, any potential delay or alternative is a good thing for the residents of the VA Footprint who don't want to be forced out of their homes...as it makes the ultimate destruction of the neighborhood less likely.

It's a very positive development, but its significance should also be tempered just a tad because there is still work to do to ensure that it's a meaningful development.  As the Times-Pic article on the Commission's vote notes, providing some context:

It is far from clear whether another study will change anything -- or if it will ever be conducted, as it would first require the Legislature to allocate money. But the hearing gave further evidence that many state leaders, including allies of Gov. Bobby Jindal, are still not comfortable with the administration's plans for building a 424-bed, $1.2 billion academic medical center at a time of financial strain in state government.

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