In the April 10 article, "Public views Essentia's vision," a community member was quoted wondering why more of a "social mandate" was missing from the project. Apparently the Duluth Planning Commission did not require an environmental-impact study, which would have addressed social conditions.

The social and health impacts and the importance of the Center for Personal Fitness were conveyed forcefully to Essentia for nine months: 775 people signed a petition, hundreds of postcards were sent, and Center for Personal Fitness supporters spoke at meetings and wrote letters. Essentia chose to ignore this input, deciding to remove a healthful social amenity from the neighborhood.

Public meetings to show off the new "vision" cannot compensate for Essentia's lack of vision - and refusal to follow its own principles. Essentia's mission is, "We are called to make a healthy difference in people's lives." Its belief statements include, "We believe in the value of integrated health care services" and, "We believe in having a meaningful presence in the communities we serve."

Mary Ann Starus



This letter also was signed by 11 others from Duluth.