Reactions ranged from disbelief to anger on Tuesday as residents learned that North Adams Regional Hospital would be closing on Friday.
"This is devastating for our towns and the city," said Cynthia Lamore, of Stamford, Vt., outside of Big Y supermarket in North Adams. "We've tried so hard to bring back prosperity to the area. I feel like our hopes have been dashed."
At the Freight Yard Pub in Heritage State Park, owner Colleen Taylor said talk of the hospital closing was on nearly every customer's lips.
"When it came on the news, we turned down all of the music to watch it," she said.
"I think it's horrible," said John McCormick. "All I keep saying is, ‘What are people going to do?' "
He added that numerous people, including himself, have donated money and time to the hospital.
"It was a community hospital," he said. "My mother had surgery there. ... It would have been a nightmare for me to have to drive her to Pittsfield to do all of the hospital visits she had to do."
"I just moved here a year ago, but I have used the hospital a few times," said his sister, Mary Cote. "When I do have to have a test, I don't have a car and I don't know where anything is."
Mary Foley was surprised to learn the closing included Northern Berkshire Family Medicine, which is her primary doctor.
"Where am I going to go?" she asked. "Where is anyone going to go?"
A breaking news post on The Berkshire Eagle's Facebook page drew numerous comments from users. Many expressed concern over the distance from North Adams to the nearest medical centers and said they hoped another entity would step up to prevent the closing.
"What a huge blow in many ways to Northern Berkshire County," one woman posted. "Very sad for employees and people living out in the community that utilize the hospital and practices, especially for emergencies."
"Hopefully the employees affected can find employment elsewhere without too much difficulty," another woman said.
"I think we'll see more schools close, lower property values, and higher tax rates," one man posted. "Not to mention all the hospital venders, florists, and area eateries that will close."
"You will see a mass exodus of people leaving the area to live closer to a primary care facility," another man posted. "I would not want to live that far from at least an urgent care location. This can financially cripple growth in the area."
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