Richmond Hill and Bryan County officials are excited over the pending opening of a new Army-run health clinic in the city.
The Richmond Hill Medical Home is slated to open in the former Harvey’s/Food Lion store, in the Ways Station shopping center on Hwy. 17, this spring, according to Fort Stewart officials. The primary care clinic will serve only active duty family members.
Even though the clinic will not serve all area residents, its presence will benefit the city and the county in a couple different ways, said Josh Fenn, the director of the Bryan County Development Authority.
“We’re very excited about this project,” he said.
The health clinic will bring additional tax revenue to Richmond Hill and Bryan County, Fenn said. It will also occupy a “big box” building that has been vacant for nine months and bring more people into the community to shop.
“It puts an anchor tenant into that shopping center, which is fantastic,” Fenn said. “With medical centers, people go to these offices and while they are out, they want to shop and take care of their errands.”
The Richmond Hill Medical Home will be an extension of Winn Army Community Hospital in Fort Stewart, according to a press release issued by the post Wednesday, and will serve the families of active duty members stationed around Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
The center is one of the 17 new clinics the Army is opening near 14 bases across the United States. Richmond Hill was chosen because it is close to those living in Pooler and Savannah, according to the press release.
“Our goal is to have the right provider providing the right care at the right time, using the right venue that’s best for our families by making primary care services easier to access – making it more convenient for our patients” said Col. Paul R. Cordts, the commander of Winn Army Community Hospital, in the press release.
The 10-year lease was signed last month. The clinic will occupy about 40 percent of the empty building, or about 13,000 square feet, according to Gene Brogdon, one of the owners of the building.
Kevin A. Foley Construction of Richmond Hill is currently outfitting the space to the Army’s specifications. That construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of January, and the Army will start its renovations in February.
Brogdon said he and his partners are still looking for a tenant to rent the rest of the building, but are happy that the clinic is moving in.
“We’re very glad to have a new tenant and a service that’s not presently in Richmond Hill,” he said.
Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler said the new clinic will benefit both the active duty family members and the city of Richmond Hill.
“We’re always happy to get the vacant building filled of course,” he said. “It will benefit the military spouses and kids of our service members. It’ll be a big benefit to them.”
City council member Russ Carpenter wrote in an e-mail that the good news of the health clinic opening in Richmond Hill is “truly an understatement.”
“With so many of our families being military, the Winn medical facility will be a good fit with Richmond Hill,” he wrote. “Earlier this year, city council asked the Bryan County Development Authority to brief us on what was being done to fill the vacant retail space in the city. We were assured that marketing efforts were in place in order to attract businesses to Richmond Hill. Obviously, their efforts have paid off.”