Monday, April 17, 2017

THE MUHLENBERG CAMPUS DEAL



On Sept. 15.2013 the Council allotted $48000.00 to Heyer, Gruel & Associates to study redevelopment plans for the Muhlenberg Campus.

After several Town Hall meetings the 61 page report was approved on August 6, 2014 and referred to the Planning Board.

Another Resolution for about #50K authorized the same group to draw up a definitive plan. This one is only 34 pages and on the surface seems to be a condensation of the first report with the much criticized housing complex still present in a masked form.

There will be a public meeting Monday, April 24 at the DuCrete School 1030 Central Ave. at 7:30 pm.

Of interest this report which lists permitted use doesn’t list acute care hospital. Nursing home yes as well as various medical related ambulatory facilities.

 On page 30 quoting the Plainfield Master Plan is the following statement under “Objectives”: “Support ongoing efforts to maintain the Muhlenberg facilities as a full acute care hospital with inpatient services”. On page 32 under the State Development and Redevelopment is this statement: “The former JFKMuhlenberg hospital has been part of the fabric of the Plainfield community for over a century. The restoration of a similar use to the property will protect the character of the existing community.”

I have seen no mention of an inpatient facility of any size in the proposal; no mention of a for profit entity being contacted; since there is no place for non-profits in today’s world.

On the other hand this proposal is consistent with the past decades political leadership at the local and state levels to play patsy with JFK and permit the rape of Plainfield’s heath assets without ever making a legitimate effort to preserve it or replace the operators  of the hospital. Yes early on there were serious entities that were rebuffed by administrative inaction.

Yes; no administration from 2007 to date even attempted to collect taxes from JFK for at least their money making usages of portions of the property.

There is merit in that the plan may restore accessible physician’s services to Plainfield. But no quality local group services will be possible without inpatient availability.

The experience of the Community Health Services (old Neighborhood House} which is facing financial problems and may close suggests without an inpatient support any such venture will fail.

Neighborhood Health Center Plainfield treated 9,460 patients in Plainfield, New Jersey, which is less than the average volume for health centers in New Jersey (21,333 in 2012). Of that number 40% were for dental services.
What has the public gotten for our near 100K?

I will try to attend the meeting and hope that I will learn something positive.

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