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Citizens oppose new hospital site

November 18, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Eight of a dozen area residents who were asked if Washington County Hospital should be moved out of downtown Hagerstown were emphatic that it should stay where it is.

Only two of the 12 favored the plan announced Thursday by the Washington County Health System Inc. to build a $150 million hospital near the Robinwood Medical Center.

"No," said Greg Williams, 37, of Hagerstown. "They should leave it right where it is. It's close and convenient there."

Karen Trumpower, 35, of Hagerstown, agreed.

"It's more convenient and everybody's used to it being there," she said.

Two people expressed mixed feelings and see value in both locations.

Cookie Reese, 47, of Hagerstown, said the hospital is convenient to a lot of people in its current location.

"It's adequate the way it is, but I know they need to expand and there's no room to expand where they are now. It needs to go, but I hate to see it," she said.

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Reese also expressed concern for older residents who find the hospital's current East Antietam Street address convenient.

Speener Hose, 78, of Hagerstown also sees benefits to both locations.

"It's pretty hard to find parking places where the hospital is now, but a lot of people feel it's best to leave it in town because that's where most of the patients come from," he said.

"On the other side, they'll be plenty of parking in the new place and it will group all the medical buildings together more than they ever could downtown, he said."

"No," said Phyllis Troxell, 75, of Hagerstown. "Leave it where it is. I'm an old person. Who wants to go all over creation to get to a hospital?" she said.

Dodie Hull, 61, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., said she goes to Washington County Hospital for tests. She thinks it's a waste of money to build a new hospital.

Sandy McGowan, 52, of Hagerstown, works at the hospital. She said she doesn't want it to move.

"I like it right where it's at," she said.

There would be one benefit for employees when the new hospital is built - it will be built on level ground, she said.

"We won't have this big hill to walk up from the parking lot," she said.

Linda Williams, 53, of Hagerstown, wants the hospital to stay in the city because she lives close to the Robinwood Medical Center.

"The traffic and congestion will get worse if the hospital goes there," she said.

Williams said she and her husband have experienced power outages in recent years and fear that outages would increase if the hospital moves into their neighborhood.

Janice Shoven, 42, of Hagerstown, said if the hospital moves to the Robinwood area it will be closer to her home.

Don Evason, 73, of Hagerstown, seemed resigned to the fact the hospital will be built outside the city.

"It's probably better to have it downtown, but I know the Robinwood Center is probably where it's going to go," he said.

Paula Burnett, 49, of Hagerstown said she wants the hospital right where it is.

"I can get to it easier," she said.

Debbie Jones, 36, of Hagerstown, lives near the proposed site for the new hospital and she's happy about it.

"It's going to be closer to my house. It's not as congested here, there's better parking and you won't have to deal with all those one-way streets," she said.

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