TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Some neighbors were for it, others against it. But, part of an East Texas street will have to close. Tyler city council members have voted to close part of sixth street between Roseland and Donnybrook to expand the Texas Spine and Joint Hospital.
In front of a standing-room only crowd, both sides presented their case.
"I've heard recently that some said that the hospital saved this area," said Kimberly Reed. "But, I'm here to disagree."
"These patients are in wheelchairs, on walkers, and using canes," said Pat Johns. "I have looked over the plans [and] closing one block of sixth street is not going to cause a traffic block."
But, opponents disagree.
The hospital wants to add 50,000 square feet to the facility as well as parking space.
"When they bought the property originally, why did they not buy enough land for expansion or negotiate an option to have Sixth Street closed at that time," said Mike Wood.
"I watched Montgomery Ward leave, and saw that it was going to really hurt my property values, and then the Spine and Joint Hospital come and, as far as I'm concerned, saved the area," said Charles Miller.
Others say ruling in favor of the Texas Spine and Joint Hospital's expansion sets a worrisome precedent.
"This would seem to be a violation of the intent shown by Proposition 11 by taking the citizens property and giving it to Spine and Joint for private economic development to increase tax base," said Julius Bergfeld.
After hours of debate, the council voted and carried. A portion of Sixth Street will close. The Texas Spine and Joint Hospital will expand.
"We're a good neighbor," said Tony Wahl, the CEO of Texas Spine and Joint Hospital. "It's good for our patients, and it's not gonna disrupt or damage that neighborhood feeling."
Hospital officials say the expansion will also provide 20 new beds for patients. The city says the paperwork for the expansion's design and construction still has to be filed, so it could take months before the street is actually closed.