Leave Moccasin Bend Hospital Where It Is - And Response (3)

  • Friday, April 19, 2024

The pro park supporters sound selfish by bullying an historic regional mental health hospital that serves 165 people with inpatient care. People without insurance are served by Moccasin Bend Mental Hospital.

Let’s look at the facts, the pro park elites ignore the fact that the Moccasin Bend Mental Hospital predates the park designation of a section of Moccasin Bend by many decades fold.

These elites have used their upwardly political connections to order a municipal law enforcement training facility to move at a huge cost to local taxpayers, and have turned their sights to kicking a state mental hospital from Moccasin Bend shamelessly. It speaks volumes.

It is outrageous to show up as new park neighbors in 2003, and order a state mental hospital facility that has been on Moccasin Bend since 1961 to move. Just who do these park people think they are?

My understanding is the Moccasin Bend Mental Hospital has 165 beds, and was established in 1961 to serve 52 counties in Tennessee.

The notion of seeking to displace 165 individuals in crisis, who does that as a political cause with a petition? Who lobbies to get a regional and essential mental hospital moved? Well, the park people do.

You notice these park folks are not petitioning for improved mental health care in the state of Tennessee. Oh no, the park people are saying leave Moccasin Bend mentally ill patients, we need that property for a park.

The park people have whined so much to the political class, the state granted the park additional land at the expense of the mental health hospital area. That appeasement did not satisfy the park people. No, the park people demand that the entire hospital be moved for a park.

Oh my, says the pro park elites, a public mental hospital is unsightly so leave. Move those sick people off, and let us have it for our park. That is precisely what these park elites are shamelessly asking.

The park was not established on a potion of Moccasin Bend until 2003.

The hospital has been located on Moccasin Bend since 1961.

This reminds me of the group that attempted to run the long standing chicken plant out of downtown Chattanooga. In both cases, the mental hospital and chicken plant had been in the current locations for decades before the new neighbors came riddled with objections and complaints.

The mental hospital is not part of the park. Growing a park footprint at the expense of moving an established mental hospital is not in the public’s best interest

Anyway you dice, slice this, it’s wrong.

April Eidson

* * *

April Eidson is absolutely correct.

How long had that chicken plant been operating there?

Roger Mayo

* * *

My oh my, the shortsightedness of Ms. Eidson's editorial is beyond my comprehension, and her exaggerated, obsessed criticism toward any person of influence in Chattanooga or Hamilton County is staggering, but that idiosyncrasy is not the purpose of this response.

In the first sentence of her opinion letter, Ms Eidson characterized the regional mental health hospital as "historic" The hospital was built and occupied in 1961; I wouldn't characterize a bland 63-year-old structure such as that hospital building ill-advisedly constructed on hallowed ground as "historic" 63 years old? The building has zero historic significance. The mission of the hospital is absolutely essential; nobody would argue that point. To rebuild, expand or reconstruct the hospital on Moccasin Bend would be a "historic" mistake, however. As Albert Einstein famously and perfectly noted, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results".

Indigenous peoples occupied Moccasin Bend as long ago as 10,000 BC......that is about 12,000 years ago. Now that is historic.

European explorers transited the area in the 1500s and made contact with Native Americans who had lived for hundreds of years in large settlements on the Bend. Now that is historic.

Moccasin Bend was an important and strategic location during the Chattanooga Campaign in 1863. Now that is historic.

The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce established the Moccasin Bend Memorial Park Association in 1944 for the express purpose of preserving the Bend for its cultural and historic significance. Despite the best efforts of knowledgeable and concerned citizens and the NPS to preserve the Bend, the hospital was imprudently built and occupied in 1961. Subsequently, further destruction of historically significant land on the Bend occured when the golf course was built in 1965. My point is that preservation attempts predated the hospital (and the golf course). This is not a new issue contrived by what Ms. Eidson characterizes as "the elites". Moving the hospital to a more appropriate location is absolutely the most logical and far-sighted measure. Not one person who is in favor of preserving the Bend has ill regard for the patients who receive the much-needed care at the hospital facility nor does anyone desire to "displace" the patients. Ms Eidson saying so is incendiary, misinformed, presumptuous and blatantly false.

The obvious fact is that the hospital was ill-advisedly built on and is still occupying a most inappropriate slice of land. All efforts should be made to assure that a new modern hospital is built in a different location that will continue to serve those in need of the same services. The Bend can then be restored as much as possible to its natural state so that the beauty and history of that place can be enjoyed, researched and studied to the benefit of many. Leaving the hospital at its present location is definitely not "in the public's best interest" as Ms. Eidson suggests.

Woody Sibold


* * * 

April Eidson is a very skillful and articulate writer. I have often envied her ability to get her point across. I’m even more impressed if she gets the facts correct, rather that confusing facts with her opinion.

Quoting her “let’s look at the facts” would leave most readers to believe she is about to deliver what are indeed facts. Well, she did give some facts, but failed on the history portion as well as “seeking to displace 165 individuals in crisis”.

First, let’s look at the history portion, as not knowing history is bad, but knowing history and misrepresenting it is a travesty. Moccasin Bend Mental Health Facility was there many years before the park designation. However, facts will tell us the park designation was a result of honoring the Native Americans who occupied the land hundreds of years before the Mental Hospital. The Revolutionary War, Spanish American War, War of 1812, and American Mexican War were all fought before the Arlington National Cemetery was established. It was built on land owned by the Robert E. Lee family, seized by the Union. General Lee was alright with it because of the greater cause of honoring our military servants and heroes.

Second, let’s look at what you refer to as “displacement”. A better term would be relocation. Plans and property identification for an area near Erlanger Hospital is perfect, both for the health of the patients and the people who visit them. Isolation is a deterrent to the patient recovery and the greater distance of travel is an inconvenience to the visitor.

Let’s honor those who occupied this land long before there was a Chattanooga, while at the same time offering better mental health services to those in need.

J. Pat Williams

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