The Massachusetts Public Health Council voted Thursday to green light a $1 billion expansion project at Boston Children's Hospital.
"This is for the children, this is for the families, and it's for the future of Boston Children's Hospital and what we can do for them today and tomorrow," said hospital CEO Sandra Fenwick.
The hospital defended the controversial plan, saying the expansion is needed to take care of critically ill patients, with more modern facilities, private rooms and reduced wait times.
But opponents, who rallied at the state house before the council's vote, have raised many concerns — the most high-profile being that the beloved Prouty Garden may be no more.
"We spent hours in that garden walking around together, said Elizabeth Richter, whose brother's ashes are scattered in the garden. "I have such fond memories of him in that garden."
Prouty has been a sacred place of healing for decades on the hospital campus for patients and families.
"It was critical to her spirits," said Beecher Grogan, who spent countless hours with her daughter, Lucy, in the garden before she passed away at the age of 12 from leukemia.
The hospital plans to build new green space.
"It will be a place of respite, it will be a place of solitude, it will be a place of healing," said Fenwick.
Opponents of the expansion say they will appeal.