Please attend August 19 “vision workshop”

This one’s simple: if you support keeping Lakewood’s hospital, please attend the “vision workshops” scheduled to begin Wednesday, August 19, and say so.

In a curious move, the city of Lakewood has announced a meeting to consider “design uses for the land currently occupied by Lakewood Hospital.” The first meeting is scheduled 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the community room at University of Akron’s Lakewood branch, 14725 Detroit Ave.

The premise of this, and proposed subsequent meetings, seems to overlook one or two realities:

  • The city has yet to make (or demonstrate that support exists to make) a decision that would remove Lakewood Hospital from the site in question.
  • Meanwhile, excitement over alternate uses for “very valuable land that is in high demand” ignores the sizable amount of commercial space in Lakewood sitting unoccupied already. If “high demand” was indeed a sure bet to replace the economic activity that Lakewood Hospital generates, why are there lots languishing, condemned or completely empty, on Madison and Detroit?

It’s worth emphasizing that at present, the only real plan for Lakewood Hospital is keeping Lakewood Hospital. The city of Lakewood has an agreement obliging Cleveland Clinic to maintain hospital services at the property for another decade (and “we don’t feel like it any more” does not invalidate that obligation). Proponents of writing off the hospital have some imaginary design concepts, and a claim of “high demand” that evidence around us does not support.

Lakewood’s mayor asserts that “we want to know what our citizens envision on that land.” Let’s help him out.