Blodgett neighbors oppose parking ramps

Kent County

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Some in East Grand Rapids are concerned about the effect of a $30 million parking ramp proposal from Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital on their neighborhood.

The three-year project would add a parking ramp at each end of the hospital, located along Plymouth Avenue SE between Wealthy and Sherman streets. Spectrum says it hasn’t yet been decided how many stories the ramps would have.

Neighbors who live across the street are not happy with the idea of looking out at a cement wall.

“This is something that you would expect to see downtown Grand Rapids or maybe Chicago but certainly not in East Grand Rapids,” David Brown, whose family lives at the corner of Sherman and Plymouth, said.

When asked how he thought the parking ramps would change his neighborhood, he replied, “Oh my gosh, well, I think I probably wouldn’t have to mow my lawn.”

“I mean, 55 feet (to the ramp), I’m probably not going to see the sun that rises in the east until probably 11:30 in the morning,” he continued.

The Brown family is one of several who live adjacent to the hospital campus that have put up signs calling for a revision of the proposed parking plan.

“As far as being a good neighbor and fitting in with the district of East Grand Rapids, we just don’t think that that’s a good thing,” Brown said.

Spectrum Health says its board gave the OK to move forward with the project in December 2017. But after feedback from the city and a flood of input from neighbors, it’s back to the drawing board and making changes to its site plan. The hospital says its taking neighbors’ concerns into serious consideration.

The $30 million project is centered around replacing a parking ramp that is near the end of its life for safe use. The hospital also wants to give patients better access to entrances.

“Clearly there’ll be a lot of construction for the next 36 months, it’d be difficult for any of us to sell our homes during that period and I also think that it’s going to devalue our properties,” Brown said.

Lynne Chadfield has been leading the fight to get Spectrum to revise its plans. She also lives across the street from the hospital. As a doctor (not one of Spectrum’s), she understands the need for patients to have easy access. But she can do without the effect on the view from her front door.

“I would like to see them find a way to rebuild the underground and make the passage through it make more sense,” Chadfield said.

She has been talking with another developer to come up with alternative plan.**Correction: A previous version of this article stated the city had approved the parking ramps. That was incorrect; it was approved by the hospital board. We regret the error, which has been fixed. 

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