More than 500 patients and residents from the neighborhoods surrounding Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago joined demonstrations at the state capitol in Springfield last month to urge lawmakers to provide funding for a new health campus that would be anchored by the hospital.
Saint Anthony's plans for the Focal Point Community Campus include a new hospital with 150 inpatient beds surrounded by a mixed-use development. The development would have spaces for agencies focused on social services such as early childhood education, housing and workforce development as well as room for retail shops.
The site of the planned campus is 1½ miles from the hospital's current location on Chicago's southwest side. The Chicago City Council agreed two years ago to sell the last parcel needed for the project, an 11-acre tract. The council also has approved zoning for the development.
Guy A. Medaglia, president and chief executive of Saint Anthony, said in a press release about the May 3 demonstrations that the hospital, built in 1898, "is out of date and ill equipped to provide the health care our community deserves."
"We are asking legislators to allocate state funding toward a world-class facility that meets the needs of our community," he added.
The demonstrators who went by bus rallied at the Illinois State Museum, in front of the Illinois State Capitol and then inside the rotunda. Among the messages on the signs they held was "Our community deserves better." Illinois lawmakers were negotiating the state's next spending plan at the time.