ORMOND BEACH, Fla. -- A beachside Volusia County hospital is now set to be demolished after being shutdown twice by hurricanes. Florida Hospital officials said damage from Hurricane Irma left them no choice. But patients said they want it to stay.
- Florida Hospital Oceanside to be demolished
- Hospital officials say Irma badly damaged the facility
- Hospital officials considering a replacement
Florida Hospital Oceanside was Mike Soto's neighborhood hospital for 11 years. His last visit was before Hurricane Irma hit.
"Just before the hurricanes it was nice and it was clean," said Soto.
The building itself was initially a hotel in the 1960s, but has served as a hospital for the past 18 years.
But sandbags and temporarily closed signs have been up since September 2017, when Irma's severe wind and water damaged several areas of the facility.
Florida Hospital officials also said that after the storms in 2004, it took six months to reopen the facility due to damage.
The hospital group said they analyzed and weighed various options and decided the building needs to go.
But Soto and others say it's a real need in the community.
"It'll just be an empty parking lot. It's best for the community over here on beachside to have a hospital beachside to get to it, it'll be faster," said Soto.
"It's on the coast, yeah storms are going to effect it," said visitor Ken Gerling. "But isn't that more reason to keep a hospital open if storms are coming in?"
Florida Hospital issued this statement: "With a clear understanding of this area’s medical needs, we are working to develop a thoughtful plan for the property’s future."
"Try to fix it, we need it," said Soto.
The hospital sign say its services have been relocated to Daytona Beach, which is 23 minutes away from the old location. The hospital said the process will likely take a considerable amount of time.
Florida Hospital said over the course of the next several months, they will work with permitting and regulatory agencies to develop appropriate and environmentally-conscientious plans for the hospital.