Opposition to Troubling $93M St. Joseph Hospital Redevelopment Growing as Neighbors Meet Tonight to Plot Strategy
Neighbors and anyone else concerned about the problematic $93 million redevelopment plans for the site of the old St. Joseph Hospital on College Avenue will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the parking at 913 Wheatland Avenue.
As we reported, the proposal to turn the brutalist-style hospital into housing, offices, and shops would create serious traffic problems, increase crime and drive down housing prices in some areas of the neighborhood, while gentrifying other neighborhoods adjacent to it.
Organizers Peter and Laurie Brown, who live on Wheatland, ask that attendants wear masks and socially distance. Contact them at 717.397.3223 or [email protected] if you have questions or want to attend. They ask that anyone interested in the fate of the site attend, and invite others.
“We would like to gather the broadest possible understanding of neighborhood opinion concerning the redevelopment proposal for 913 Wheatland Avenue, in order to articulate our objections in as cogent, apt, organized and representative as way as possible,” the Browns said. “A group of residents in the immediate surroundings is growing for the purpose of supporting the basic view that the site in question would not be at all appropriate for the use under consideration.”
The property is located in a unique area that borders both high-end homes and lower-income neighborhoods. This means the redevelopment could hurt lower-income renters with the gentrification effect that could price them out of their own homes, while simultaneously driving down home values in other, higher-income bordering neighborhoods because of the crime and other negative externalities that accompany low-income government housing.
On Aug. 3, the Lancaster City Council Community Planning Committee voted 3-0 to advance a request to rezone the property. The measure they passed would change the property at 250 College Avenue from “hospital complex” to “mixed use” zoning.
The measure will get a first reading at the full council meeting on Aug. 11.
Meanwhile, neighbors are organizing in opposition to the proposed redevelopment scheme, because while residents in more upscale abutting neighborhoods could face falling property values and increased crime, residents and renters in more downscale adjacent neighborhoods could see themselves gentrified out of their homes.
Community support for the project is critical, and opposition united could derail the plan.
Lancaster-blog will have staff reporters on the scene.