For several years, I have been a part of an amorphous group of neighbors who live near WellStar Kennestone Hospital and periodically meet with hospital administrators to work through hospital-neighborhood conflicts. The group was initiated by Dr. Greg Simone when he became chief executive officer of WellStar and has continued during the administration of acting CEO Jim Budzinski. The neighborhood group generally meets with hospital officials who are directly involved in the many construction activities at the Kennestone campus and our purpose is to help the players understand and minimize the impact the changes are having on people who live nearby.
While the process has not been perfect, I believe that Dr. Simone, Mr. Budzinski and staff have been genuine and trustworthy in their dealings with us throughout this sometimes testy business. My purpose in writing this letter is to point out one nearly completed outcome of the negotiations: the beautiful new landscaping that WellStar has installed at the corner of Church Street and Tower Road.
The City of Marietta has been working hard to improve the appearance of the various gateways into downtown Marietta and this WellStar created corner certainly sets a new standard. Long-time residents will remember the old two-story concrete parking deck softened only with long borders of azaleas that bloomed in the early spring.
The new building on the site of the old parking deck is now completed and this magnificent garden in front of it should mature into a greenscape and flower garden to cheer hospital visitors and passersby the year round. While we have worked cooperatively on zoning, traffic, lighting, pedestrian flow, and various other issues, this new garden is an easy testament to WellStar's commitment to the neighbors.