Star-studded groundbreaking of new Central Falls health center

Saturday's groundbreaking also included an appearance by Emmy award winning actress Viola Davis, who grew up in Central Falls and still has family who live in Rhode Island.
Saturday's groundbreaking also included an appearance by Emmy award winning actress Viola Davis, who grew up in Central Falls and still has family who live in Rhode Island.

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) – A plan three years in the making is finally becoming a reality in Central Falls.

The city’s 1000 Broad Street will soon be home to a brand new, state-of-the-art health center, expanding on the services it can offer and the number of people it can treat.

The new Blackstone Valley community health center is expected to offer more services, extended hours, and ten times the space of its existing facility.

“Before this expansion, the Blackstone Valley community health center was able to care for approximately forty percent of Central Falls residents,” says Representative David Cicilline, who was on hand for Saturday’s event. “This new facility with forty-seven thousand square feet, will enable the center to reach ninety percent of the city’s residents.”

The new Neighborhood Health Station is being funded by a one-million dollar federal grant, private investors, and tax credits.

“The health center sees people regardless of their ability to pay, all insurances whether they have insurance or not, whether they’re documented or not,” says Dr. Michael Fine, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. “It won’t cost tax payers anything new and in fact will save tax payers money.”

The neighborhood health station will also treat residents outside of Central Falls like North Providence resident Melanie Slivka, who spoke with Eyewitness News Saturday.

“I’m very excited to be able to come to a building for all of my medical necessities,” says Slivka. “Right now, I would have to go one place for x-rays, someplace else for labs, and a third place to see my doctor.”

Saturday’s groundbreaking also included an appearance by Emmy award winning actress Viola Davis, who grew up in Central Falls and still has family who live in Rhode Island.

“When we were growing up in the city, we used the healthcare center,” Davis’ sister Deloris Grant told Eyewitness News. “My mother is one of the founders of the health care center. She was on the board and that’s where we got all our health care services from so it was really important for all of us because we didn’t have a lot of money.”

The new Neighborhood Health Station will be located in the current parking lot behind the existing Notre Dame health center. Construction of the new building is set to begin later this month. It’s expected to be complete by the Spring of 2018.