They’re talking

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 4, 1999

From staff reports

Albert Lea Medical Center met with its neighbors Thursday night to talk about community concerns.

Saturday, December 04, 1999

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Albert Lea Medical Center met with its neighbors Thursday night to talk about community concerns.

Both the residents and the medical center should be commended for coming together to talk through issues.

The main sticking point Thursday was parking, with residents concerned that ALMC staff are parking in spots normally used by residents on the streets.

One reason is that ALMC lots may fill up, leaving employees to park on the streets.

Another is that some employees may prefer to park on the street, closer to entrances than they would be in the lots.

Either way, ALMC had some suggestions that put neighbor’s concerns first.

Short term, the center is considering having some employees park at the West Clinic, with an ALMC shuttle available to get employees to the doors. Long-term, a parking ramp is possible.

But ALMC representatives also suggested that for now, residents ask the city to restrict the parking to residential parking only.

All are good ideas, and show that the medical center is willing to meet neighbors half way. ALMC staff should not take this personally, but rather as a necessary step to smooth community relations.

The helipad was another topic, although there seems to be less that can be done here; the fact is, the helipad will save lives by removing the need to transport critical patients from the hospital to the airport for Mayo One pickup. A greater good will be served everytime a life is saved.

Any change is difficult for someone, and in the case of major change such as is occurring at Albert Lea Medical Center, it is likely to be difficult for a number of people.

The important thing here, is the cooperation evidenced Thursday night. By working together, by talking, the medical center and its neighbors are more likely to reach an acceptable resolution to any concerns.

ALMC is an important asset to this community, but one that appears to be making community a priority.