A small group of members of a local advocacy organization protested around Lancaster city on Wednesday to oppose the rezoning and redevelopment of the former St. Joseph Hospital site from a hospital complex to a mixed-use building.
The Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee of antipoverty organization Put People First! PA hosted the rally, beginning in Penn Square, to express their dissatisfaction with the plan to convert the hospital, while there are more pressing issues in the city like the “unjust and deadly” Lancaster County Prison, according to a news release.
The redevelopment plan was unveiled last month and includes 325 housing units, with 100 to 120 units made affordable to low and moderate income residents, and 50,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of retail space. UPMC Pinnacle, which still owns the hospital after closing it in 2019, has formed an agreement to sell the hospital to developers Washington Place Equities and HDC MidAtlantic, pending approval to rezone the city block.
The group of approximately 35 masked protesters marched around the city to local officials’ offices, including City Hall and the district offices of U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, state Rep. Mike Sturla and state Sen. Scott Martin.
Three demonstrators were arrested and charged with obstructing highways and other public passageways during the protest, Lancaster city police said in a release. Two women and a man stood in the middle of a traffic lane on West Chestnut Street, and refused to move despite warnings from police. All three were held for processing.