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A call to approve the NCH Heart Center project at first Naples City Council hearing

Packed council room shows high level of intensity over the project
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-18 17:49:01-05

NAPLES, Fla — In a packed session at City Hall, Naples City Council held discussions on a proposed Heart and Stroke Institute at NCH. The hearings marked a milestone in the efforts given months of deliberations at the hands of other city panels.

For over two years, NCH has been waiting for the green light to begin constructing the health facility, which they say will provide advanced care and technology for heart-related ailments. The project has gained widespread support among residents, many of whom believe it should have received approval long ago.

People who spoke with FOX 4 unanimously expressed their support for the hospital. One resident emphasized, "20,000 residents would benefit from this hospital... but it's been frustrated for 3 years by this council."

However, there were some concerns raised by some about the potential impact of a large facility, coupled with a new parking garage, on the small surrounding neighborhood. "I really hope the project goes forward, just without this garage," one resident who lives two blocks from the hospital remarked.

Originally planned at 40 feet, the height of the garage became a point of contention. But following community feedback, NCH agreed to reduce it to 30 feet.

Paul Hiltz, President, and CEO of NCH Healthcare System, expressed optimism about the council's looming decision and says they have made compromises. "I'm hoping today that after all the discussions, all the modifications, the back-and-forths, that today's the day we as a community can come together to vote on this," he told Fox 4.

The council is set to hold a second hearing on the subject on February 7th where final action is expected.