Vote to expand NJ Hospital turns ugly

The News Leader

June 21, 2010 8:18:38 PM PDT
Police in New Jersey were called in to control an overflow crowd at a a loud and raucous meeting.

That meeting was to decide if Valley Hospital in Ridgewood should double in size.

It has turned into an ugly community issue and some residents are outraged.

The crowd was spilling out of the building, onto the sidewalk and in a parking lot connected to George Washington middle school.

Critics of Valley Hospital's planned expansion were minutes away from a vote going against them and they knew it.

Tempers flared inside as well as members of the planning board explained their decision, people in the crowd expressed their anger.

Supporters of the hospital expansion, mostly employees, filled the seats as well.

A three year fight was coming to a head.

The hospital plans to double in size and employees and officials say the 60 year old building is in need of repair to meet patient needs.

The board voted in favor of the hospital.

The debate has created a rift in this community, and healing may be years away.