Bay Area Briefs

Wednesday October 31, 2001

CONCORD — The only maternity ward in Concord, Contra Costa County’s largest city, has closed. 

Citing the birth center’s annual losses, including $4 million last year, the John Muir/Mount Diablo Health System board voted in June to close the unit based in Mount Diablo Medical Center. Since then, through a series of legal moves, the hospital survived five scheduled closure dates, until Monday. 

Ninety percent of Concord women have been delivering their babies at other hospitals, according to the private nonprofit system, which says that it lost $39 million last year. John Muir Medical Center and Mount Diablo Medical Center merged in 1997. 

For months, Mount Diablo supporters have said that closing the birth unit ultimately will lead to the death of the Concord hospital by choking off its supply of new patients. 

“We have no plans to close Mount Diablo Hospital,” said Steven Bauer, an attorney for the health system. 




SAN JOSE — The city’s redevelopment agency has abandoned its recommendation for underground structures as a solution to address the parking crunch in the downtown area. 

Executive Director Susan Shick said public support was limited. Preservationists also opposed the plan. 

Pat Curia, president of the Preservation Action Council of San Jose said they hated the thought of tearing up historic St. James Park and Plaza de Cesar Chavez for construction that would have lasted at least 18 months. 

Shick reached her conclusion after studying the latest downtown parking management plan, a 136-page report by Santa Monica-based Kaku Associates. 

The parking plan recommends the city build five garages for 4,130 cars and proposes specific locations for three: north of the Hotel De Anza, on the Greyhound bus terminal site, and behind the Tech Museum. 

Two other garages would be built through public-private partnerships with developers who pursue projects at two locations: near South Second and East Santa Clara streets, and near South Second and East San Carlos streets. The exact locations have not been determined. 

The five garages are estimated to cost $145 million, which would be financed through the sale of bonds. Those bonds would be paid off with revenue from the parking garages, redevelopment funds and parking rate increases.