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EGR Planning Commission OKs Blodgett parking ramps

By: Zach Horner and 24 Hour News 8 web staff

Updated: Apr 24, 2018 11:16 PM EDT

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EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The East Grand Rapids Planning Commission has approved a plan to put up two parking ramps at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital.

At the commission's Tuesday meeting, only one member voted against the $30 million proposal to build parking structures at either end of the hospital campus off Plymouth Avenue between Wealthy and Sherman streets.

Before the vote, Spectrum Health officials laid out more changes to their plan, including lowering the south ramp an additional 4 feet (20 feet lower than the initial proposal), adding more landscaping and moving the north ramp 10 feet to the east.

Those and other revisions the hospital announced last month were made in response to the concerns of neighbors who are opposed to the plan.

But neighbors still don't want the ramps, which they say will be eyesores and could affect property values.

Several people again voiced objections during public comment. One said Spectrum's proposal "reeks of corporate greed, politics, underhanded maneuvering and just plain disregard for the neighborhood."

"The Blodgett site plans should not be the neighborhood's hardship," another person said. "If Blodgett's proposal comes to be, our homes will be devalued, then the city's income will decrease from the decline in revenue from the decrease in the perimeter home property taxes."

Meanwhile, hospital employees and patients said the additional parking would allow for better service.

"I think that we all were trying to balance the concerns of the immediate neighbors with the constituencies that the hospital serves and provide care and wayfinding and parking for them in a manner that was harmonious with the existing structure," Planning Commission Chairman John Barbour told 24 Hour News 8.

Opponents say they're going to keep fighting.

The plan now heads to the East Grand Rapids City Commission, which must decide whether to grant two variances required for the project.

If the project is approved, construction would take about three years. 

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