With four new medical departments already serving patients, the administrative offices up and running and a full service pharmacy and café on the way the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) officially cut the ribbon to open its new facility in Maverick Square last Thursday.
Last year, EBNHC officials joined local elected officials and leaders of the health care industry to break ground on what has become an anchor development in the square.
The new, 49,000 square-foot ambulatory care building, which is being funded in part with $12 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money, and has 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.
“If anyone has any question on how stimulus money is being spent and how it works they need to come to East Boston and see this facility,” said U.S. Congressman Michael Capuano at the ribbon cutting.
In 2010 President Barack Obama had chosen the EBNHC as the recipient of $12 million in stimulus money to build the brand new facility in Maverick Square.
This was the last round of federal stimulus money and out of 600 applications only 85 projects were chosen. Out of those 85 projects EBNHC received the most money.
The new Maverick Square facility, which was completed in just over a year, will expand primary care, vision, and dental services that have been operating in tight quarters in the main health center building on Gove Street.
Demand for these clinical services has been growing at a pace that cannot be sustained in the current location. The new building provides a home for the EBNHC Education and Training Institute as well as administration offices, which were in leased space on Paris Street.
Consistent with the intent of ARRA, the $12 million in stimulus funds for this $20 million project created over 150 construction jobs and over 50 permanent health care jobs. An additional benefit of the project will be the anchor it provides to economic development and revitalization efforts in Maverick Square.
Like Capuano, almost everyone that spoke at last week’s ceremony said that critics of the country’s economic stimulus bill should look no further than the new building in Maverick Square to see how federal money has spurred growth and commerce in a once economically depressed area.
“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 the more people that are in the square using the Health Center the more likely they may frequent the wide array of coffee shops, restaurants and stores in and around the Maverick area.
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.
EBNHC has been a vital part of its community for over 40 years, providing easily accessible, high-quality health care to all who live and work in East Boston and the surrounding communities of Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Winthrop. EBNHC handles 300,000 patient visits per year – more than any other ambulatory care center in New England.