Critics of the country’s economic stimulus bill should look no further than the new East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s (EBNHC) new building in Maverick Square to see how federal money has spurred growth and commerce in a once economically depressed area.
Built with $12 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money, the building allowed EBNHC to create new, critically needed capacity to serve patients in need of primary care, vision services, and dental care. It was the first ARRA-funded project to break ground in the United States.
With the Health Center’s administrative offices already up and running and the medical offices to be moved in June, the building is being touted as an anchor in the square that is sure to boost the local economy.
“It already created over 150 construction jobs and 50 permanent health care jobs,” said EBNHC President and CEO Jack Cradock. “But we figure there will be 500 additional new people in the square on a daily basis.”
This additional benefit of the project means the new Health Center will help foster the economic development and revitalization efforts in Maverick Square.
“This means more people in the square that may frequent the wide array of coffee shops, restaurants and stores in and around the square,” said EBNHC Chief Information Officer Manny Lopes. “The building will also house a café on the first floor with open air seating outside.”
Already businesses like D’Parma’s, the Cactus Grill, Taco Mex and others have seen an up tick in business from Health Center employees working in the building.
“We have a lot of favorite spots,” joked Lopes. “The tacos at the Cactus Grill are great and a lot of us at the Health Center love D’Parma’s.”
Both Cradock and Lopes said business for stores in the square should only get better once the clinical offices are open.
“This building is going to bring a lot of foot traffic to the square and people that may have not come to Maverick otherwise,” said Cradock. “We’d like to think that people coming here to an appointment or to fill a prescription would be more likely to go into the businesses in the square. So for us it’s very exciting to be able to have that role.”
The EBNHC will cut the ribbon on the new building on Thursday, June 14.