Havre De Grace Schedules Second Public Meeting To Discuss Harford Memorial Hospital Redevelopment
HAVRE DE GRACE - The city of Havre de Grace will host its second public comment session on the redevelopment of Harford Memorial Hospital on Thursday, September 28th, at 6:30 p.m. at the STAR Centre.
According to city officials, the format of this meeting will differ from the previous session, focusing on discussing various neighborhood redevelopment scenarios.
"This is your opportunity to let City officials know what you would like to see developed in its place," said Havre de Grace Director of Planning Tim Bourcier. "This is also the time to let us know what you would not like to see. Any other concerns about the redevelopment of the hospital, no matter how big or small, is of concern to us."
Harford Memorial, a local icon since the late 19th century, began life as a 21-room Queen Anne-style mansion designed by acclaimed architect George A. Frederick. According to the University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, the building has "outlived its useful life" and is slated to cease operations in spring 2024.
"Renovation of the facility is not cost-effective, and the nine-acre site in downtown Havre de Grace is surrounded by existing developed parcels, limiting a practical opportunity for renovation or expansion," the medical centers wrote in 2019.
The move has been a point of contention for Havre de Grace officials, who are concerned about the loss of services and jobs and the void the closure will leave in the city's downtown.
Bourcier said the existing hospital property will inevitably be sold and redeveloped. He stressed that all forms of public input are valuable, even if they may be unpleasant to hear.
The hospital building, he noted, has degraded with age, and the site falls under a residential office zoning district, which limits the types of redevelopment that can occur. Environmental assessments, including soil testing, are also expected to be part of the redevelopment process.
Bourcier mentioned that while grant funding is available from the Department of Housing and Community Development, local economic demands also play a significant role in what can be done. "We'll do our best to make everything fit as well as we can," he assured.
Despite the hospital's pending closure, Bourcier confirmed that discussions have taken place regarding the continuation of some community health services, such as Coumadin clinics, X-rays, MRIs, and mammograms, although nothing is set in stone.
Residents are encouraged to attend the upcoming public comment session to express their views and concerns about the future of the hospital site.
"Public input will factor in greatly," Bourcier said. "But it is part of a process, and we're going to try to take as much of the input that we can."
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