I have been following recent newspaper articles and guest columns with interest and some dismay. Since the guest column of Nov. 13 referred obliquely to me and my family, I feel compelled to comment. Rumor and misinformation abound and should be dispelled. I am a member of the medical staff at St. Joseph's Medical Center and a recent member of the hospital board executive committee. We have lived on the north side and owned our home for 12 years. It is considered to be an historic home by some. In all that time, I have found St. Joseph's Medical Center to be a fine neighbor. Its grounds and parking lots are well cared for, aesthetically pleasing, and its sidewalks and drives are always cleared in a timely manner. I would challenge anyone to point out more well-designed parking lots in this city. The hospital set the standard years ago, and was commended by the city of Brainerd for its parking lot design.
The guest columnist of Nov. 13 (a Crosby hospital employee) shared the rumor that the hospital had given me and my family six months to decide whether or not to sell our home. She did not bother to call and confirm this rumor, but just passed it along. This is pure fantasy. At no time has the hospital approached us or the two other homeowners on this block who still own their homes, and demanded or tried to coerce us into selling. We are aware of the hospital's interest in our properties, but there has been no pressure whatsoever. Some on this block have approached the hospital however, and offered to sell their homes, and those sales have been completed. I am certain that if our home were for sale, the hospital would be a willing buyer. It is not for sale, however.
I have been a member of the medical staff for 25 years. I have seen the hospital grow over this time to provide high quality, compassionate care to all who seek its help. It is time again to expand to meet the demands of our continually growing community. As a consequence of this growth and expansion, the medical center must increase its parking. If it does not, parking will overflow into the surrounding neighborhoods. The options are ground level parking or parking ramps. Ramps are extremely expensive to build and maintain, and, in my opinion, "aesthetically ugly." If property is available, the hospital should take the fiscally responsible step to provide ground level parking. If no land is available then parking ramps would need to be considered. The hospital has no authority however, to force anyone to sell their homes. On the other hand, it has the right to bid for and purchase property that is for sale. The hospital has been a responsible and considerate neighbor in the past, and I have every confidence that it will continue to be so in the future.
Finally, it is important to recognize the core values of the Benedictine Sisters of Duluth, the owners of St. Joseph's Medical Center. These values are hospitality, respect, justice and stewardship. The mission and goals of this hospital are based on these values and are taken seriously. I am very comfortable living in this neighborhood and having this "eight hundred pound gorilla," as the hospital was recently described, editorially, as my neighbor.
(Boran is a north Brainerd resident and a member of the medical staff of St. Joseph's Medical Center.)
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