Regional medical services to grow

Bill Christopher, Crosscurrents
Posted

As the northern suburbs continue to grow and spread out, critical services need to follow. Residents and businesses need to be served. We have seen new hospitals and emergency services facilities emerge in the general area, but nothing closer to home for Westminster, Thornton, Broomfield and the adjacent areas. As recently announced, Centura Health will soon launch a major expansion to its St. Anthony North Medical Pavilion at 144th Avenue and Interstate 25. This $177 million investment in north Westminster reflects the perspective that growth in the northern area will continue in the next five to 25 years.

A comprehensive approach

The Medical Pavilion will add 92 flexible-space beds, 60,000 square feet of physician clinic space, outpatient-treatment rooms, day surgery, women’s delivery and baby care rooms and a Level III trauma center with ER. This combination reflects Centura’s approach to hiring more doctors in-house. A statement from Centura’s Andrew Wineke sums up its new approach — “putting primary care, specialists, lab, imaging and other services together in a single location, along with acute care and in-patient services, is going to make a big difference both in terms of convenience and coordination of care.” With this major expansion, additional jobs will be created to further solidify the northern area. Cabela’s will be building across the highway in Thornton and other employment creation will come on both sides of I-25 in the area.

The future for the hospital?

The only question mark in this major capital investment by Centura is what does the future hold for the existing St. Anthony North Hospital on 84th Avenue. This medical services facility for the past 40-plus years has played an important role in Westminster, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Thornton and unincorporated Adams County. It will be interesting to learn of the future plans for St. Anthony North Hospital. I hope it will continue to play an important role in serving this part of the community.

Opt out?

Well, the debate among some elected officials on allowing recreational marijuana retail sites has begun, and I am delighted to see it. While 55 percent of the vote on Amendment 64 approved such use of marijuana, the Amendment included an “opt out” provision for city and county governments to not allow such retail sales. The Denver City Council is divided on the issue with NIMBYism (not in my back yard) at play to some degree. Councilman Chris Herndon said voters in his district said they favored legalizing pot so that young people would not have to go to jail for possession of small amounts. But they also told him “Don’t you dare put a commercial establishment in my community.” This reminds me of too many times neighbors would say “affordable housing is needed, but don’t put it next to my neighborhood.”

Not needed in Westminster

Westminster City Council was leaning toward prohibiting marijuana retail sales outlets per a Jan.7 discussion. The public had an opportunity to weigh in at the Jan. 28 formal meeting. I will be out of town but want them to know I totally oppose Westminster allowing such unneeded retail outlets.

Bill Christopher is former city manager of Westminster and used to represent District J on the RTD board of directors.

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