The future of health care in the Wabash Valley is decided Thursday night. The Terre Haute City Council voted on Union Hospital`s $178-million expansion plan which would include permanently closing a block of 7th Street. The highly anticpated Union Hospital vote brought a full house to city hall. Both those for and against vacating one block of North 7th Street attended the meeting. The city council passed Union Hospital`s request, by a 6-2 vote. Most people on both sides of the issue agreed it needed to be decided tonight: "I don`t think there was anybody in this room, quite honestly, that wanted to see the vote delayed. I think all of us, collectively, have been through enough. I think further delays would`ve been costly," said Union Hospital CEO David Doerr. "I voted no. I had held a meeting a meeting at Collett Park in July, a public meeting at the pavillion, and I wanted to get an input of what the people wanted, because these people are in my district. And it was overwhelming, there was about 130 people who came to that pavillion, and they don`t want their street closed," says Terre Haute City Councilwoman Shelva Warner. The other `no` vote came from councilman Todd Nation. Councilman Chuck Miles abstained from voting because he works at Union`s competitor, Regional Hospital. As for salary ordinances, all city employees will receive a 3.3% raise next year, including firefighters. The council voted to pass a salary ordinance drafted despite the fact no collective bargaining contract has been reached between the Firefighters Union and the city administration. Also, the council adopted tax cuts for Clabber Girl, which announced Thursday night they are building a state-of-the-art production facility on North 9th Street next to their current facility. We hope to have more on this story next week.
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