A half century of curing and caring
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Tullo, who lives just a few blocks away from the hospital, agreed that the takeover was necessary. “In my opinion, it was the best thing for the hospital,” she said, adding that North Shore-LIJ has put a lot of money and effort into maintaining the building.
Growing and shrinking
As Franklin Hospital got bigger and began serving more patients in the first few decades after its opening — growing eventually to 305 beds — more space was needed for parking. The hospital acquired land from the state that abutted the Southern State Parkway to build more lots.
Parkway ramps had to be reconfigured in order to accommodate the growing medical center. The two-story parking garage and adjacent lots were built over former exit and entrance ramps for the Southern State. The road along the north side of the hospital, now known as Blakeman Drive, had to be moved.
Albert Dicker, who served as the director of the hospital from 1964-99, said getting that land from the state was very helpful. “We needed it,” he said. “People were parking in the streets.”
Dicker led Franklin through it’s growth, both in size and in terms of care provided. He said the construction never disrupted Franklin’s ability to function and all work was always done on time.
The hospital has added numerous services over the years, and several departments, such as radiology and the emergency room, required more space. The original emergency room was just five beds plus a cardiac room and an orthopedics room for casts. Hottendorf said there are plans to expand it again in the near future.
One area that closed was the maternity ward, which shut its doors on June 6, 2005. Tullo, who had both of her children at the hospital, said the area’s aging population meant fewer people in Valley Stream and surrounding communities were having kids.
“There were not enough births per year to constitute keeping the maternity unit open,” she said. By 2004, there was an average of fewer than two births per day.