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Sanford Hopes To Expand Campus



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Sanford health has started to format plans to expand it’s midtown campus in Sioux Falls, and it's is causing quite the heated debate.

Five city blocks and 50 houses will ultimately be affected, if the plan is approved by the city.

The area includes most of the real estate from 18th to 21st street between Prairie and Menlo avenues and a block bordered by Walts near Menlo and 22nd street.

On one side, the plan could benefit the high demand for additional health care needs, but on the other side, homeowners said they feel like they're being stripped of their rights and being told what to do.

James Jeffcoat, a resident in the area for seven years, said he does not agree with Sanford's plan to expand in his neighborhood.

"It comes down to forcing people to move out," said Jeffcoat."They're taking away all the people that have established homes, established neighborhoods and it's falling apart.”

And Doloras Wessel, who has owned a home on 22nd street since 1975, said all she can do is wait and hope the city does not grant approval.

"My plan is to sit tight, and hope that I can continue living there for as long as I want," said Wessel.

Sanford has asked residents in the area to be a part of their re-zoning plan, which includes some form of compensation, but exactly how much has not been determined; either way officials with Sanford said homeowners still have a choice.
 
"If they opt in or opt out, they still have all the rights of ownership, they still have the right to do with their property, whatever they wish to do with their property," said Orlen Tschetter, vice president of facilities and planning.

Officials said asking the residents to re-zone are their way of taking a proactive approach, especially because the need for their services continues to escalate.

"The reason that we need to expand is because of the ever growing need for healthcare and the numbers of people that are coming to us seeking that care," said Tschetter.

And he said there's fear they could run out of space.

"We have recruited additional physicians, we have a brand new heart hospital that volumes are increasing daily and we simply need to have more space in order to accomplish those services," said Tschetter.

But instead of moving into the nearby neighborhoods, Jeffcoat said he hopes other options are explored.

"I would like to see them seize at what they're doing, they have enough land, let them build up, instead of out," said Jeffcoat.

Other concerns from residents included fear of property values going down, added traffic to the area and tearing down a neighborhood that has built lots of memories.

Official city action is planned to take place at the planning and zoning meeting on August 1st and the public is welcome to attend.
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