I came to Rush Oak Park Hospital in 2015 as the inaugural medical director of the breast imaging center. We now offer personalized breast care unparalleled in this region. Our team consists of specialists in breast radiology, and we work closely with other oncology specialists in breast cancer detection and treatment. We came from the top cancer programs in the nation — Rush, Northwestern, University of Chicago, NYU, Stanford and MD Anderson — to Oak Park to practice.

Women from our communities can receive the best breast care in the nation at Rush Oak Park Hospital. This is especially important as many women will not, or are unable to, travel for their preventive care and ongoing treatments. It is a community asset that cannot be taken for granted.

But we practice in antiquated facilities. The main hospital building at Rush Oak Park is 116 years old. Our space is so limited it leads to scheduling delays. I witness the very serious consequences of those delays. We need to have modern facilities to provide the service our patients deserve.

But the modernization of our facilities would be impossible if the proposed changes to the zoning rules that were before the Plan Commission last week had passed.

These zoning changes aim to restrict growth on the Rush Oak Park campus. If passed by the village board, for example, the 50-foot building height they propose (for only Rush Oak Park Hospital) will prevent any new construction from being more than three stories in height, a highly inefficient health-care structure. The 50-foot setbacks that are proposed would largely foreclose the re-development of the Harlem Avenue frontage by reducing the potential space for modernization by over 50%. These zoning changes, if passed, will be harmful to the public’s health as they will preclude growth in needed medical services like breast cancer care.

I urge the Oak Park Village Board, like the Plan Commission, to reject the proposed zoning changes and allow Rush Oak Park Hospital to modernize under the framework of existing zoning regulations. Our patients and community deserve it.

Paula Grabler, MD
Oak Park

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