Thursday, May 08, 2008

Muhlenberg Loss Will Harm Business

Among the many cogent comments at the State Health Planning Board hearing Tuesday, Plainfield Chamber of Commerce President Jim Uffer extrapolated on what the closing of Muhlenberg might mean to the Plainfield business community.

Uffer spoke of the domino effect - not the pizza company, he quipped - but the domino game, with the image we have all seen many times, of one tile tipping over a multitude of others.

The loss of 1,000 jobs at Muhlenberg cannot help but affect a gamut of city businesses and services. People without jobs will rein in expenditures for all but the bare necessities of food and shelter.

While Uffer did not draw historical examples, those who remember the Macy’s closing downtown can recall the effect on eateries, specialty shops and many other retailers. Some may recall Lily Greenleaves, the millinery shops, Boise’s, Lazaar’s, financial institutions and even downtown art galleries that are now a distant memory as we came to contemplate dollar stores and other low-end operations such as the flea market upstairs from Supremo supermarket.

Paramount Property Management, which acquired 45 downtown storefronts from the Pittis Estate a few years ago, promised a move to more upscale offerings downtown. That promise has not been fulfilled.

Meanwhile, medical providers and other professionals have fled the city.

So when Muhlenberg closes (if Solaris prevails), we may well expect will see a further erosion of services and a general diminution of business operations in the city.

Uffer put it this way: “You have the power to keep this hospital open. My question is, do you have the vision to keep this hospital open?”

He asked whether there is the courage and the heart to keep Muhlenberg open, adding, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. You are that small group of people.”

Every day people in the city and the region realize another way their lives will change if Muhlenberg closes. The latest revelation is the impact on emergency preparedness in Union County. A second hearing is now planned. Let us hope that the decisionmakers understand the entire domino effect that will result if Muhlenberg is not saved.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plainfield Chamber of Commerce president Jim Uffer raised the "domino effect" from the closing of Muhlenberg. He is 100% correct that this closing will adversely effect the Plainfield business community as have, over the decades, the departure of other institutions. Though Mr. Uffer's comments are apppropriate, why at this late stage does he speak up? Where has the Chamber's voice been over the years- certainly the past 2 years? It is the same old story in Plainfield. It takes a crisis before the status qou or apathy takes a back seat to assertiveness. This institutional debacle is a sad commnetary on Plainfield and the long term absence of thoughtful leadership. Better late than never! Thank you Jim Uffer.

2:33 PM  
Blogger truman said...

Yes I do recall the loss of Macy's, Lily Greenleaves, and other downtown businesses while the Plainfield evolved into a downtown shopping stripmall with a plethora of low end shops that kept the money out of Plainfield to this day. What exactly does Uffer mean when he says that "you have the power to keep this hospital open"? What is Uffer asking the citizens to do? Where is the total outline of the proposed plan?

9:25 AM  

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