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Mercyhealth CEO addresses Rockton Avenue flood concerns

Javon Bea says future of hospital is in Mayor McNamara’s hands.
Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 11:04 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “We’re absolutely committed to keeping Rockton Avenue open for as long as we have Riverside open, which is indefinitely.” Mercyhealth CEO Javon Bea says despite what you may have heard, the Rockton Avenue campus will remain open.

But Bea says that does come with one cavaet, “The only thing that will threaten Rockton Avenue hospital is the city not putting in that box culvert to make up for that 55 year old too small of sewer pipe.”

Bea is concerned about a repeat of what happened in June 2018 where a storm caused $30 million worth of flood damage to the Rockton Avenue hospital. Bea says, “Engineers say it’s like playing Russian Roulette.”

Mercyhealth filed a $24 million lawsuit against the City of Rockford last year. Bea says all he wants is a commitment from Mayor Tom McNamara to help fund a box culvert for flood mitigation. “There not doing their proper job in taking out a bond for a few hundred thousand dollars and putting in a culvert that their own engineering company said needs to be done,” Bea says.

In a statement sent by Mayor Tom McNamara he says, “The City of Rockford did not cause the flooding at any time on Mercyhealth’s campus, including in 2018. The City offered to assist Mercyhealth in finding state or federal capital funding for its campus to address Mercyhealth’s water issues. However, our assistance was contingent on Mercyhealth’s commitment to maintain services at its North Rockton Ave campus. They declined that offer.”

Bea, however has a different take. He says, “He had 32 million dollars in 2019 and he wouldn’t spend a few hundred thousand then. That’s 1500 jobs on the west side. it’s all the services that are hear. He’s the only one that can threaten the viability of this campus by not doing the right thing.”

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