Someone recently commented that building a new courthouse in Dame Shirley Plaza would be like “paving over the park” in Chester, destroying a chunk of local nature.
Except that, of course, is exactly what’s happening with the absurd $50 million (and more) boondoggle that is the new Seneca Hospital, which clearly no one’s been actually paying attention to.
This new hospital is a sprawling suburban monstrosity, destroying ten acres of unburnt (and let’s ponder on how rare that is near Chester, any more) woods, for a hospital that will suffer from all the same understaffing and underutilization as the present Seneca Hospital. It’ll be built on land donated by Collins that was originally intended to be preserved in a natural state – and isn’t that needed now more than ever? The new hospital will pave 150 parking spaces – literally acres of asphalt – to replace a hospital that never saw more than thirty or forty filled on a busy day. And why? Because a pack of engineers that likely never set foot here decided to do so, and the bureaucrats who are thrilled with this project went along with it for the sake of their own self-importance. It’ll loom over nature trails and nesting grounds alike, harassing and driving away wildlife that’s increasingly scarce, and projecting itself into a previously protected area that’ll now simply be another over-groomed administrative back yard.
We were never actually told what specific problems this hospital solves, or why it need to be so big, or why it needed to cost so much. There’s a certain local apathy to such large projects, mostly brought on by an utter lack of interest in preserving in any local character in a community increasingly dedicated to being a characterless slice of suburbia.