Fredericksburg City Council votes to approve MWHC expansion

by | Jun 11, 2024 | ALLFFP, Government, Health & Wellness

In making closing statements before casting their votes on Mary Washington Healthcare’s proposed rezoning, several members of the Fredericksburg City Council made clear that they empathized with opponents of the project and its impact on the Kids’ Station daycare center, set to be demolished in late 2025.  

“I am incredibly sympathetic to every parent who has had this rush of fear around where you’re going to find childcare,” said Councilor Jason Graham (Ward 1). 

Councilor Will Mackintosh (at-large) compared the decision facing the council on Tuesday night to choosing a favorite between two of your children.  

“We have two very real needs in this area, childcare and healthcare,” Mackintosh said.  

The latter need resonated with Councilor Tim Duffy (Ward 3). 

“This is critical to Fredericksburg’s success to have a medical campus that serves the region, not just the city,” said Duffy of the MWHC plan, which includes the construction of a graduate medical education building intended to be utilized by residents. “To have an education training center like that is going to be invaluable.” 

Ultimately though, Graham said, councilors’ only true prerogative concerned land use. 

“We lack the authority to mandate Kindercare’s presence, continually at MWHC,” he said. “It is on us to review only the zoning application before us.” 

Councilors voted 7-0 to approve the plan, ending a regulatory process that attracted an unusual amount of public engagement and scrutiny throughout. The planning commission continued its public hearing on the issue to give MWHC more time to respond to commissioners’ concerns, ultimately voting 6-1 to recommend it for approval on May 8.

(This story will be updated).

Mary Washington Healthcare, an individual or organization central to this story, is a major donor to the Free Press. Donors do not influence newsroom operations.

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