Residents of Richmond's Westhampton neighborhood were out in full force Wednesday night demanding answers on what will become of their community.
Bon Secours wants to build a medical office building on the former Westhampton school site. Neighbors are concerned about traffic, preservation of the historic building and what will become of their popular playground.
The two sides met at Bon Secours St. Mary's hospital. While they have different views, both sides have one interest: the Westhampton school site.
The school now sits empty but the building and the land was part of a package deal when Bon Secours promised to build the Redskin's training camp for the city.
"We know the Westhampton school is an area that will allow St. Mary's to really grow medical services to the community," said a Bon Secours spokeswoman.
But the Westhampton community is resisting that growth.
The school is a historic landmark and the folks who live near it, don't want to see much change at all.
"As a neighborhood, we are advocating for preservation of the Westhampton school," said Nadja Gutowski, President of the Westhampton Neighborhood Association.
Another concern is what will happen to their beloved playground that kids of all ages use daily.
While Bon Secours said in the meeting Wednesday that the playground must be moved, the hospital group is paying for the move and has offered to upgrade it.
Bon Secours believes the two groups can find middle ground and has promised to keep this open dialogue going so neighbors won't be left in the dark.
A task force was also created Wednesday night comprised of community members and Bon Secours representatives. The goal is to bridge communication between the hospital and the community.
Their first meeting will be next month.
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