Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Creating an Island

I'm not talking about a pleasant, tropical island.

No, I'm referring to a most unpleasant prospect - the island of inappropriate, surface-parking-lot-heavy development that will be created if hundreds of homes are demolished and the VA Hospital is built in Lower Mid-City...and the LSU Hospital that will theoretically link it to the CBD is never built.  And a peninsula of suburban hospital design was a poor enough idea to begin with.

The prospect of the proposed hospital complex peninsula being cut through is not a far-fetched idea.  It's highly likely based on the facts - namely, the financial difficulties faced by LSU as it attempts to move forward.  LSU doesn't have the money.

The data has been available for some time, but just to refresh, here's why it's increasingly unlikely that the LSU portion of the medical complex will even be built.

As SaveCharity pointed out at the time:

it looks increasingly like the number one reason given for the entire LSU/VA complex - biomedical corridor synergy - is at risk. The residents of Lower Mid-City will have been kicked out of their houses for a VA hospital that, instead of being adjacent to a state-of-the-art teaching facility, will be completely isolated from the medical district for years.

The VA will no doubt move ahead with its symbolic groundbreaking ceremony later this month - even as hundreds of homes remain not only standing, but also occupied in the VA footprint (and some homeowners have not even received an offer yet for their property).  While it's unfortunate that a VA facility is not yet back on line, the obstinate refusal to modify plans based on new fiscal, economic, and national healthcare realities - considerations that were not in place when the project was conceived - stands to leave New Orleans with an ugly remnant, an unnecessary island.

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