- Associated Press - Saturday, July 29, 2017

MARYVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Some mothers are against a plan to paint over a wall of baby footprints at a St. Louis-area hospital.

Anderson Hospital in southwestern Illinois’ Maryville announced in early July that it plans to photograph the footprint wall in the labor and delivery unit before painting over the footprints, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .

The hospital has been adding footprints to the wall for nearly 20 years to celebrate babies born there; blue for boys and pink for girls. The hospital says the walls need new coverings for aesthetics and because of wear and tear in the high-traffic corridors.

“Yes, the famous footprint wall will be covered, but what will remain will be the renowned care we have always provided,” the hospital said in a statement.

Jennifer Wilkiewicz’s daughter Alexis was born at the hospital in 2003. Many of Wilkiewicz’s family pictures were destroyed during a storage unit leak in 2010.

“I’m saddened by the news,” she said. “It’s like it’s the only thing left from when Alexis was a baby, and I can’t even go there to try and find it.”

Nikki Mooney’s three children were born at the hospital.

“We have a lot of emotional ties to that wall,” Mooney said. “It reminds me of adding another member to my family; all that’s gonna be erased.”

She’s asked the hospital to have an open house to allow people to have one more look at the wall. But the hospital said the unit is secured and closed so visitors aren’t allowed.

The hospital stopped adding new footprints to the wall in January. The walls will be photographed and archived with photos expected to be available online early next year.

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This story has been corrected to note that the hospital is in Illinois, not Missouri.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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