By Jim Melican, GSAC Board Member
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On February 7, the Naples City Council gave final approval to NCH’s plans to build its proposed Heart, Vascular, and Stroke Institute on its downtown campus. The vote was 4-1 on two of its three petitions, with only Vice Mayor Hutchison opposed and 3-2 on the third petition, with Vice Mayor Hutchison and Councilwoman Petrunoff opposed.

After all of the compromises and revised plans made by NCH to respond to objections from the neighboring residents over the last couple of years, in the end, there was overwhelming community support for the project, including from all of the neighborhood associations (HOAs) in the city. The GSAC board has been, from the beginning, a steadfast supporter of the project and has repeatedly made that support known by letters to, and appearances before, the City’s advisory boards and the City Council.

The next step will be to begin work on the stormwater infrastructure and power grid in the northwestern corner of the surface parking lot to the west of the NCH Baker Hospital building. The new 30-foot parking garage should be completed before the end of this year. The existing Telford Center is scheduled for demolition in the first quarter of 2025, and the construction of the new building will commence soon thereafter. The plan is for the construction to take about 12 months, with the first patients able to be seen in the early spring of 2026. In the end, we believe that the completion of a first-class cardiovascular and stroke center with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment will enable NCH to attract and retain the most qualified physicians available and will be an outstanding asset to our City for many years to come.