CREATED Feb. 20, 2013
BONITA SPRINGS, FLA.-
Emergency care is about to get a whole lot closer for some Southwest Floridians. Lee Memorial Health System announced the plans Wednesday for a new 80 bed hospital on Coconut Road in Bonita Springs.
Seasonal residents Tom and Jane Fruechtenicht choose to live part time in Bonita Springs thanks in part to the warm temperatures and walking trails. They say the area has it all, except for a hospital.
" We're at the age where we need something close by." Jane said.
So they were thrilled to hear Lee Memorial Health System was coming to town.
" I think its great news because a community this size really needs a hospital it is too far to go to Fort Myers or Naples." Tom said.
We asked Lee Memorial's Chief Operating Officer Dr. Lawrence Antonucci if Coconut Road was the right spot to build and he said it was a no brainer.
" This is an area that if you look at the county and where the hospitals are it clearly would be one of the under-served areas." Dr. Antonucci said.
Dr. Lawrence said it is too early to say exactly what services will be at the new facility but in a matter of life or death, Bonita Springs Mayor Ben Nelson said the new hospital will be a savior.
" Time is everything in the health care business, minutes mean lives." Mayor Nelson said.
Not to mention, a boost to the Bonita economy.
"Our demographic is an average of 59 years old you're not looking at people without means either so as a business model it's a smart move to put a hospital in this area." Mayor Nelson said.
Hospital leaders said they will submit an official application to the Florida Agency Health Care Administration by April and if all goes smoothly they hope to start construction in the next couple of years.