An excerpt from an editorial in the St. Louis American supporting an extension of a lease agreement between Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the City:
The latest version of the broad outline of the Forest Park/Barnes-Jewish Hospital land deal that would extend the current lease to 90 years, and which was presented to the Board of Aldermen last Friday, provides an acceptable basis for agreement between the hospital and the city.
The legitimate interests of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in future expansion on the site near its major clinical facilities now occupied by a parking garage that has recreational facilities on its roof would be accommodated, while the city would gain about $2 million annually, with an escalator clause for sorely needed maintenance of the recently-restored Forest Park . . .
The issue has been politicized by narrow interest groups that seem more concerned with holding onto a mostly abstract principle that ignores the reality of Forest Park’s urgent need for funding to preserve its newly restored physical condition not to mention the future space requirements of a hospital that is regarded as one of the nation’s best and is an essential appendage to Washington University’s stellar medical school.
These elite institutions bring indispensable assets to the region’s newly emerging life science industry as well as provide the highest-quality health care. They are labor-intensive entities that serve as anchors on the eastern border of Forest Park. Their health and growth are critical to the revivified neighborhoods to the south and north.
African-American elected officials who have much less pressure from their political base in this matter are therefore more free to exercise prudent independent judgement. They should take a special interest in the decision-making involving BJH, a major employer, which has recently embarked on a new direction by funding and staffing a fresh initiative to foster greater diversity in staffing and cultural competence . . .
For now, you can read the entire editorial here: St. Louis American