Around the turn of the century - 2000, that is - Park Avenue still had a section nicknamed "Doctors' Row" for all the medical offices there. After Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center closed in 2008, almost all the health care providers moved out of Plainfield. I for one am hoping to hear tonight that plans for the Muhlenberg campus will include some restoration of medical offices.
If development continues at its current pace, there will be a need for more doctors, dentists and other practitioners in the city. As noted in the post linked below, my son and I personally lost health care providers that were formerly within walking distance of our home. Several just moved further down Park Avenue, maybe a $10 round trip by taxi. My dentist is now a $30 round trip taxi ride away, still on Park Avenue but four miles away from his former Plainfield office.
Please read my 2010 post, "A Viewpoint on Health Care" and see whether you agree.
Developers keep stressing the idea that many newcomers to Plainfield will be rail and bus commuters or may even use bicycles to get around. Parking requirements for new development projects have been revised downward in the belief that residents will not need cars as much as before. But what if a new resident needs a blood test, check-up or specialized care? It would be a lot easier to get to a medical mall in the city than to get to Summit, Warren, Edison or Green Brook.
A new factor has come into play since Muhlenberg closed, and that is the consolidation of medical services into "systems" I had a CT scan in April 2015 and was told to schedule another this past April, but found out the specialist had joined a health system based in Somerville and therefore had closed her former Plainfield office that was in walking distance for me. The travel options are not easy, especially now that I also have some conditions that make long trips inconvenient.
By now, many people have given up hope that a full-service acute care hospital will reopen on the Muhlenberg site. But I get the impression that many would welcome a "medical mall" kind of set-up.
Whatever comes out of the town meeting will be of interest. I just hope it includes some news on city-based health care.