From Optimus Health Care:
Government, community and health officials today touted the positive impact a two million dollar project will have on Bridgeport’s East Side. At an Optimus Health Care ceremonial groundbreaking this morning, officials started construction on a parking garage to be built at the corner of Maple and Brooks Streets. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, State Representative Andres Ayala and officials from Viking Construction and Optimus Health Care took part in the ceremony behind Optimus’ Headquarters and Health Care Center at 982 East Main Street.
Optimus officials say the modernization project will improve patient flow, access and efficiency and increase medical visits and enrollment of new patients. The project also supports the region by contracting Viking Construction of Bridgeport which will need to employ craftsmen and tradesmen for the job. In addition, removing cars from the streets will increase parking for customers of local businesses, improving the East Side’s economy.
The idea for improved parking was conceived during the devastating winter storms of 2010 and 2011, when patients had a particularly difficult time finding on-street parking. This construction, however, will make it easier for patients to get health care. “We will be the first community health center in Connecticut with its own designated patient parking,” said Optimus CEO Ludwig Spinelli.
Optimus Health Care Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Richard Torres spoke of the new structure’s impact on the local area. “Health care is an essential part of the community, when patients are cared for and feel safe, it improves the quality of life for the neighborhood.”
Designed by Leon S. Mularski of TMG Architects, LLC the parking structure will provide 70 parking spaces for patients, providers and staff. The garage is due to be built in six months. In keeping with “green” requirements, the structure will feature both horizontal and vertical green areas, including a vine-covered wall designed to cut down on graffiti.
Representative Ayala, who helped secure bond dollars for the $2 million project, praised Optimus’ work. “Optimus is a great organization that is very good for Bridgeport. They hire from Bridgeport, finding people who ensure our neighbors get healthy,” Ayala said. “The garage is exciting for Optimus, exciting for Bridgeport and exciting for the East Side.”
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch celebrated Optimus for both “keeping families happy, healthy and wise” and being “economic drivers on the East End.”
Peter Yazbeck, a representative of Congressman Jim Himes said Optimus fits with Himes’ office’s vision for the Affordable Care Act. “There is a moral dilemma about how the Affordable Care Act serves the uninsured and underinsured with quality health care–the answer is at Optimus.”
Local leaders, Optimus Health Care Board Members and officials from non-profits and the city’s two major hospitals, Bridgeport Hospital and St Vincent’s Medical Center were in attendance as well as representatives from Bridgeport Landing Development, LLC.
Optimus has been improving the health status of the region for more than 35 years. Started in a two-family house on Ogden Street in 1976; the Center formerly known as Bridgeport Community Health Center now has 16 sites. As the region’s largest federally qualified health center, Optimus annually serves some 47,000 unduplicated patients and completes more than 250,000 visits in Bridgeport, Stratford and Stamford. As part of a statewide bonding allocation three years ago; the Center completed the second floor at 982 East Main Street.
To find out more about Optimus Health Care please visit: www.optimushealthcare.org.