SWAC hears health center plans


Nationwide Children’s Hospital will close its Primary Care Center at 50 Old Village Road in Hilliard and replace it June 8 with a larger facility in a portion of 2857 West Broad Street, formerly the location of the Hilltop Market Place.

Primary Care Centers offer pediatric services including immunizations, well-child checks, sick-child appointments and dieticians. They are open from 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, said Angelo Mingo, the hospital’s community relations director.

The care centers differ from Nationwide’s Close to Home Centers that offer urgent care and physical therapy.

Although the hospital signed a five-year lease, "we plan to stay in the area for quite some time," Mingo said.

The new Primary Care Center will offer 12 exams rooms as opposed to the five at the Old Village facility.

"We did an area study and found that very few pediatricians practice in this area," Mingo said.  "We are very proud to be coming back."

Ralph Horn president of the Southwest Area Commission asked Mingo if she or someone else representing the hospital would attend the next public discussion to formulate a Southwest area plan.

The first meeting was held April 14, and drew approximately 60 people.  The next meeting has yet to be scheduled, but will most likely occur in June.

Many residents of the commission’s jurisdiction want healthcare included in the plan.

"The southwest area is very lacking on medical facilities – in fact we do not have any.  We lack a lot of services but healthcare to me is very important," Horn said.  "I think (a healthcare center) would be a big asset."

Commissioner Juanita Kaufman concurred.

"We just need help.  We have nothing in this area," Kaufman said.

The commissioners also asked Belinda Taylor, community relations manager for COTA to attend the area plan meetings or to send a representative.

"Public transportation is one of our immediate needs," Horn said.  "The only bus route we have now is on Harrisburg Pike and it has lots of issues.  It’s dark and has no sidewalks.  I’ve seen people standing in horrendous storms.  I felt sorry, but I didn’t have enough room in my car.  I couldn’t pick them all up."

When Taylor spoke to the commission last fall, she mentioned that COTA planned to reopen the number 17 route that included Hardy Parkway, Brown Road and Willow Creek.  However, the line was not included in the list of services scheduled to begin May 5.  Taylor told the commissioners she expects that route 17 will return in September.

The commissioners suggested that COTA add a route from Georgesville Road to High Street following Clime and Frank Roads.

Taylor said she would note the request and recommended the commission create a committee of three to five people to discuss possible bus routes directly with a member of COTA management.

The SWAC meets every third Wednesday of the month at 7 pm at the New Horizons United Methodist Church.  For more information about the commission or to become involved with the area plan, the commission Web site is: www.columbusswac.org.

On April 21, commission president Horn will speak to the Columbus City Council to update them on the efforts of the SWAC to improve the Southwest portion of the city.

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