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Thu, 20 Oct 2005

Groundbreaking for health clinic - Newsday

ROOSEVELT
Groundbreaking for health clinic
BY SID CASSESE
STAFF WRITER
October 20, 2005

Some Freeport and Roosevelt residents yesterday witnessed the first step toward realization of a dream at the northeast corner of Holloway Avenue and Nassau Road in Roosevelt.
Eleven years after submitting a proposal to build a new health care center, a Roosevelt non-profit held a ceremonial groundbreaking for a nearly $4 million facility that will serve the two predominantly minority communities.
"It has been a struggle, and sometimes an expensive one, to keep this proposal, this dream, alive. And where previous county administrations continually failed to keep their promises to us, [county executive] Thomas Suozzi has lived up to his commitment," the Rev. Reginald Tuggle told an audience of more than 50 people at the site’s vacant lot.
His non-profit Memorial Economic Development Corp. will build the clinic in partnership with Nassau County and the Nassau County Health Care Corporation, which also runs Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow and other clinics.
Construction is scheduled to start in April and be completed by the end of next year, with the clinic opening in 2007. Tuggle, pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Roosevelt and president of the spinoff non-profit, later said his group bought the property from the county for $250,000, borrowed $3.5 million from the federal government and got a $366,000 federal grant through Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola).
Suozzi, one of several Democratic elected officials at the ceremony, said the new clinic will provide high-quality health care to nearby minority communities. "It is my hope that this facility will not only address the health care needs of the community but also serve as an anchor for future economic development," Suozzi said.
Among the other officials credited by Tuggle with helping make his dream a reality were two county legislators, Roger Corbin (D-Westbury) and Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead), and county Comptroller Howard Weitzman.
The Health Care Corporation will lease the 12,000-square-foot site for 17 years at an undetermined sum, with an option for 10 more years. "Our patients deserve to have access to health services in superior accommodations, which will facilitate our efforts to reduce health care disparities," said Daniel Kane, the corporation’s president.
The current dilapidated, 8,000-square-foot clinic, built 20 years ago, is across the street from the planned new construction site.
"A health facility should be clean and this one is not, although the staff is very accommodating," said Tessa Yap, 32, of Roosevelt, a five-year client who was on hand with her daughter, Kellicia, 5.
Marge Mauro, a nurse manager who has worked at the clinic for almost two years, said the new clinic will be welcomed. "We do the best we can, but the place is old."


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