By Leah Goodloe Brown –
March HealthCare Development received final unanimous approval yesterday for the March LifeCare campus’ Master Plot Plan and Specific Plan Amendment by March Joint Powers Authority.
According to master developer Don Ecker, “with the submission of the MPPSPA and the completion of our first phase of demolition, we are now ready to begin water and sewer infrastructure and selling land.”
Public comments were made by a number of members of the community, building trades, and project partners.
“We recently completed the phase one demolition,” stated Scott Lawrence of McCarthy Building Companies, “we are currently crushing concrete to be used for aggregate and base for the sidewalks.”
He was joined by Duane Pate of US Demolition who completed the first phase demolition on-time and said in his entire career, “this is the best project I have had the opportunity to work on.”
Representing the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, deputy director Louis Stewart called the project one of the most high profile job creating projects in the state.
Speaking on behalf of the building trades Robert Frost, Roger Roper, and Malcolm Griggs identified the numerous union members in the audience who are ready to work.
They touted the mission of the apprenticeship programs they offer as one of the solutions to the high unemployment numbers here in the Inland Empire since the decline in the housing market. Roper, president of the IBEW Local 440 told the commission, “we have to get people back to work.”
Inland Empire resident and physician Dr. James Perkins told the commission he was compelled to speak in favor of the project once he read about it in an issue of Riverside Magazine. A paraplegic who lives in Riverside and practices medicine in Pasadena, said he had been personally frustrated when he was injured and searched for care throughout the Inland Empire.
“The March LifeCare vision of integrated care, holistic care, and quality care is my vision as well. We have to do this here.”
Bishop Lacy Sykes, Sr. Pastor of Cross Word Christian Church, which will remain located on the campus in its current facilities said, “I’m not here to oppose the project.”
He did, however, express concern regarding the pending infrastructure construction and how it will affect the church’s numerous ministries. “We currently see 2,700 people on a weekly basis and want to be included in any notifications of construction on the campus.”
National workforce leader and Riverside resident Jamil Dada told the commission, this is the “perfect spot.” He continued, “it’s near enough to the freeway to be a regional hub and bring good jobs to Riverside County.”
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