published Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Erlanger delays Lincoln Park land gift

The Erlanger Baroness campus.
The Erlanger Baroness campus.
Photo by Staff File Photo.

The most important thing that came out of the Erlanger board of trustees eight-minute meeting Thursday night was what was left unsaid.

The hospital board did not bring up a drafted resolution that would allow the hospital to donate five acres of land in Lincoln Park to the city, a proposal that has been in the works for weeks between Chattanooga and Erlanger officials and was expected to be finalized Thursday.

The potential land donation could change the dynamics of the city's plan to build a Central Avenue extension through the Lincoln Park neighborhood, which would create a direct link to Riverside Drive.

But while Erlanger board members had photos of the Lincoln Park property on their tables and copies of the resolution Thursday, the issue never came up.

Afterward, several board members said there were still too many questions about the deal.

Hospital attorney Fred Moore also said he needed to do more research on the legal mechanics of such a donation.

"It doesn't mean it can't be done, it's just that I don't think they were going about it the right way at this point," he said.

Erlanger CEO Kevin Spiegel said that he believed a donation was still possible, but the board would need more time to examine the proposal.

"It was on too much of a fast pace," he said. "It has to be within the best interest of the hospital."

Many Lincoln Park residents have worried the road project would add unwanted traffic and eat into the neighborhood -- which already has lost more than half of its original footprint to encroachment by the railroad and Erlanger.

The city has promised that it would seek resident input about the project, and said that it would not damage the park or any houses in the 100-plus home area.

Contact Kate Harrison at kharrison@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.

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