My Turn: Rolling out welcome mat for Greenfield Center for Wellness

  • Natalie Blais is the new Executive Director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. August 21, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Published: 4/9/2018 4:00:09 PM

A rewarding part of being Director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce is welcoming a new business to our community. It’s even more rewarding when the new venture combines public and private investments to revitalize a long-vacant building in an historic downtown business district. And when neighboring businesses can benefit from the influx of employees, customers and vendors, the ripple effect can become a rising tide that lifts all boats.

With this in mind, I want to welcome the CHD Greenfield Center for Wellness, which is scheduled to open in just a few short weeks at 102 Main Street in downtown Greenfield. The Center is an integrated care partnership of CHD, which is a CARF-accredited provider of human services in western Mass, and Community Health Center of Franklin County, which is a federally qualified care organization providing primary medical care and dental care.

Together, CHD and CHCFC will be using a new delivery model called Integrated Care, where primary care, dental care, counseling for emotional wellness, and access to community-based supports are all provided under one roof. Co-locating providers that coordinate patient care provides benefits including greater convenience, lower costs and better outcomes for patients.

In the case of CHD Greenfield Center for Wellness, our local economy should benefit as well. The Chamber is thrilled that the Center is in downtown Greenfield. CHD has invested nearly $6.5 million through a combination of private funds, Mass Development tax exempt bonds and Historic Tax Credits awarded through Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin’s office, to transform the historic building which was occupied by Sears from 1929 to 1993.

The benefits of co-locating CHD and the Community Health Center of Franklin County in downtown Greenfield go well beyond the shell of the building. Anchor tenants like this one can play an important role in the revitalization of our downtowns across Franklin County. Employing nearly 100 people in a vast array of jobs will have a direct impact. Projected new foot traffic of 1,000 people per week will provide indirect economic benefits as goods and services are procured from local businesses. From 102 Main Street, it’s a short walk to established Greenfield businesses including restaurants and merchants selling apparel, home furnishings, convenience items, health and pharmacy products, toys, books, jewelry, gifts and more.

It is my understanding that CHD has made buying locally a priority in the construction and outfitting of this new facility, right down to the artwork on the walls. CHD’s demonstrated commitment to the local economy is making an impact even before they officially open.

All of this is good news for the people and economy of Franklin County. I hope you’ll join the Chamber of Commerce in rolling out the welcome mat for CHD Greenfield Center for Wellness

Natalie Blais is executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.


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