East Grand Rapids parking ramp proposal sparks controversy

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A 21-foot high banner is posted in the front yard of concerned East Grand Rapids residents protesting future construction of a new parking ramp at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital.

The towering banner along Plymouth Avenue reads "Height of Proposed Parking Deck." Lynne Chadfield is one of a handful of concerned neighbors telling FOX 17 the structure could be more than just an eye sore.

"Most people are worried about the value of their homes, the congestion in the area, and about the demolition," Chadfield said.

Project managers unveiled the $30 million, multi-phase project in February. The plan is to decommission the existing parking ramp at Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital on the South end of campus, while building long-term parking ramps on the South and North ends of its campus.

Rick Redetzke, Sr. Vice President of Facilities and Realestate, says the original plans called for a roughly 40-foot structure on the South end of its campus. After multiple meetings with the City Hall Planning Commission and concerned residents, the structure will now peak around 21 feet.

"These solutions we are proposing are very long-term solutions, so we want to be a good neighbor," Redetzke said.

However, Chadfield says the plans are still a serious concern. A handful of neighbors have gone online to voice their opposition at ourgr.com. Neighbors are now working with outside architects, hoping to draft a blueprint everyone can be on board with.

"People will walk into the city and see this huge cement wall, and what would it do to the sunlight coming into our homes in the morning?" Chadfield asked.

As the hospital continues addressing neighborhood concerns, Redetzke and other project managers are getting ready to submit their final proposal at the April 24 City Hall Planning Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m.

"We have significantly reduced the height of the South ramp, which was the main concern," Redetzke said. "We've also done sunshade studies, and found the shade will not touch their property."

He went on to say the new proposed ramps would increase accessibility for future patients while adding more than 100 trees on campus.

"We are looking for the right balance between our neighbors and planning for good health care design," Redetzke said.

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