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Editorial: Wellness Center aims to better health of residents, Greenfield

  • The new Greenfield Center for Wellness on Main Street in Greenfield. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

That about 100 local and state politicians and regional medical leaders attended the official opening of the Greenfield Center for Wellness on Main Street supports the belief the $6 million facility will be the next big thing for the city.

The Center for Human Development, a Springfield nonprofit that offers social services and behavioral-health programs, has partnered with the Community Health Center of Franklin County to provide one-stop shopping for the physical, dental and mental health needs of area residents, many of them of limited financial means.

CHD received a $3.1 million tax-exempt bond from the state to renovate and furnish the 38,000-square-foot building at 102 Main St., turning it into clinical space as well as medical, dental, outpatient behavioral and wellness care. Community Health Center, which for many years has provided primary and dental health care to low-income patients and others, has moved from Cherry Rum Plaza in Greenfield and Farren Care Center in Montague City.

State Sen. Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, who attended the opening last week, congratulated both groups on their growth over recent years and their moving in together to better serve the area’s residents as the nature of health care evolves.

“We’re finally acting on this recognition that body and mind go together. People, to be truly healthy, need attention in many spheres in the health realm,” Rosenberg said, striking a variation on the theme of the night: integrated health care as good care.

Community Health Center’s head, Ed Sayers, talked about how his organization has always valued bringing services together for the ease of the patient. “Integration really is not a new idea for community health centers,” he said. “Health care is about taking care of the whole person.”

CHD, for its part, offers a wide range of services throughout western Massachusetts, including psychiatry and counseling; child, adolescent and family service; and addiction and recovery help.

Reconstruction of the building, which once housed a Sears and Roebuck catalog and department store, is in itself a sign of the times, as Greenfield of the 21st-century shifts to provide medical and social services from its downtown — where in the 20th century, retail was king.

It’s clear that social services are becoming a bigger part of the mix of uses of downtown storefronts. If a centrally located wellness center can help patients, it also promises to help its retail-oriented neighbors.

According to the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, the center will employ nearly 100 people in an array of jobs. Projected new foot traffic of 1,000 people per week will provide indirect economic benefits, as these people buy goods and services from restaurants and merchants selling apparel, home furnishings, convenience items, health and pharmacy products, toys, books, jewelry and gifts.

So, we hope in the end, this wellness center will benefit not only the medical health of the area’s residents, but also the financial health of downtown Greenfield itself.