The newly renovated building isn't so newly renovated anymore. The 1 New Broadway space that Open Door Family Medical Center (note the snow in the photos) has been sitting pretty, and empty, awaiting the many things that need to line up before can move out of its rental and into its own.
“We're still waiting for the state – filing the Certificate of Need (CON) with the state takes more than a year,” said Lindsay Farrell, President and CEO of Open Door, which operates four not-for-profit health centers in the region.
According to the State Department of Health, "through the CON process, the Department seeks to promote the delivery of high-quality health care services and to ensure that home care services and facility-based health care services are aligned with community health needs. The CON process also reins in investments in excess facility capacity and unneeded medical equipment that drive up health care costs for everyone, without contributing materially to the health of our communities."
Then there's the Sleepy Hollow Planning Board, the nagging parking problem, and unhappy neighbors.
The small lot adjacent to 1 New Broadway has less than a dozen spaces, which seems insufficient for such facility serving so many (at the time of purchase, Open Door reported they had the capacity to serve about 5,000 patients, a figure which could grow when they move to bigger digs). Nearby residents, who worked to erect a sign guarding Webber Park from errant truck traffic, have reason to be wary of this potential activity.
"Open Door has no plausible way to mitigate parking and traffic problems," said Sleepy Hollow Environmental Advisory Council's David Bedell. "They suggest that patients will park on Lawrence Avenue, Hudson Terrace, or other absurdly distant locations, and there is no way for the Village to enforce the use of the proposed staff shuttle to Phelps. There would be an handicapped entrance on New Broadway and it is unclear why it would not be usable by all patients and staff. If you eliminate the implausible scenarios suggested, New Broadway would be Open Door's parking lot if the Planning Board grants the parking variance they seek."
Open Door feels they will speak to these issues when they go before the Planning Board tonight.
“We've done some additional parking and traffic studies that we'll present,” said Farrell. “We think we've addressed all the concerns the neighbors have.”
Namely, they're proposing:
Staff to park at and be shuttled to Open Door.
A crossing guard at the Broadway intersection.
The entrance on New Broadway used only for emergencies; all coming and going to be from the main door on North Broadway.
They also have statistics on their clientele. “We've done extensive studies on where our patients live and how they come to us, and 70% walk,” Farrell said.
And the flow/volume per-hour of the space: Since they do a residency program with Phelps, these doctors-in-training tend to be “slow,” said Farrell, often seeing only one patient per hour.
If approvals come on schedule, the facility should be open in July 2013, said Farrell. This is better than the original prognosis they estimated of 2015; the closer deadline coincides with when a second class of medical residents arrive, which will mean six more staffmembers, and a facility on Beekman Avenue that is officially “just too crowded," said Farrell.
Farrell is optimistic that all will go as planned. The same situation with limited parking places happened with their facility in Mt. Kisco and “that worked out great with the neighbors," she said.
Though the Strand building they now occupy is a two-story building, Open Door has only been able to use one. They wanted to install an elevator to access the second floor but it was deemed structurally impossible, and too expensive. So that floor sits empty.
There's been some talk of restoring this building to the theater it once was. We'll discuss that in our column when the space is, finally, vacant. Farrell is optimistic for the chances of a theater too. “Look at how well [Pleasantville's] [Film Center] does,” she said.
For those who live nearby, especially on New Broadway, does this plan sound okay to you? For those who go to Open Door, do you walk and will you continue to when it moves? Tell us in the comments.