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Council tables decision over NCH Heart Institute

Posted at 7:31 AM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 22:20:25-04

NAPLES, Fla. — A decision over the proposed NCH Heart Institute in Naples will happen at a later date. City council decided to table any decision on the controversial construction at Wednesday's meeting.

Council member Ted Blankenship said it was better to "give NCH another month or two so they can revise [their plans] and see what's best for the community," adding it was "a matter of finding the right balance and path."

Public comment was still accepted.

Many are not happy with the plans NCH Healthcare has to build a new heart center. The crux of the controversy is how tall the new 'Heart, Stroke and Vascular Institute' will be.

The proposed building is 75-feet tall, which exceeds the city's building height limit of 42-feet. City Council heard opinions Wednesday on whether to amend the current height ordinance to allow this heart center to be built.

The president of the NCH Heart Institute says this vote, and the approval of the new heart center's construction could change lives.

The heart institute's website says the new building would add three new cardiovascular operating rooms and more than 20 new cardiac intensive care units. It would be on the same campus as the NCH Baker Downtown Hospital on 7th Street.

For residents, it’s been a mix of emotions. Some are for the idea and others are flat out against it.

A few homeowners we spoke to say the institute would bring more people to an area that’s already too crowded and violate city laws. The biggest concern from the public is congestion. Some worry that an expanded hospital with more patients and employees would make Downtown Naples even busier.

NCH CEO Paul Hiltz has said the new facility must be taller 42-feet in order to include all the medical equipment and private beds. Hospital officials say the heart center needs to be on its current campus to be close to existing facilities and for the people who need it.