$17M investment in Good Sam site is ‘a special project’

More than four years after the closure of Good Samaritan Hospital, a variety of local leaders on Friday gathered at the now-vacant site for a ceremonial ground-breaking of a new health and wellness campus that is expected to open late next year.

The $17.8 million project will be one of the largest recent investments in northwest Dayton that will offer important services and amenities and hopefully should generate interest in redeveloping other land on the site or nearby, some local officials and leaders said.

“This is a special project,” said Eloise Broner, chief of shared services with Premier Health and chair of the Phoenix Next board of directors.

A roughly 50,000-square-foot facility is being built on the former Good Sam hospital site that will be home to a new branch of the YMCA of Greater Dayton.

The facility’s other tenants will include Premier Health, Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley, County Corp, CareSource and Wright State University.

There was a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site on Friday morning that featured leaders of local governments, social service agencies, health care organizations and other community groups.

Site work at the property started very shortly after the YMCA closed on financing for the project, and the building pad is complete and a playing field is ready to be seeded, likely starting next week.

This will be the sixth new YMCA of Greater Dayton branch to open since 2000, said Dale Brunner, president and CEO of the organization, which has a dozen locations.

Each YMCA is different, but this one, called the Premier Health YMCA, will be very unique because of how the community partners, who will be under one roof, will share the space, Brunner said.

The YMCA expects to hire a branch executive in the spring to start to build a program plan the northwest Dayton community wants, he said.

Gary Blake, past chair of the YMCA of Greater Dayton’s board of directors, said, “I can tell in my 12 years on the board, this was without a doubt the most exciting project that we’ve undertaken.”

Michael Riordan, president and CEO of Premier Health, said he was recently asked at a community meeting why Premier did not sell the Good Sam property.

The health care system owned and operated the hospital.

“I said, ‘You know, I wasn’t here for that decision and that commitment, but my goodness I’m so glad they didn’t because I want us to be present in this community,’” said Riordan, who took over in late January of this year. “I want our name in this community, and I want build and live up to that trust and that commitment.”

Premier plans to put an urgent care, physician offices, physical therapy and medical imaging lab services at the new complex.

Supporters say they hope this will be just the first phase of redevelopment of the hospital property. The new facility is expected to take up about about 5 acres of the 13-acre site.

This project is an investment in the health and wellness of residents of the community but also it supports the economic vitality of the surrounding neighborhoods, said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who spoke at the groundbreaking.

Two protestors were escorted by police and security out of the event as leaders prepared for a photo shoot after they yelled, “Shame on you,” and “We need a hospital.”

Nancy Kiehl, one of the protestors and chair of community outreach with the Clergy Community Coalition, said some community members feel betrayed by elected leaders because they have not fought hard enough for a full-service hospital or other comprehensive medical services at the site.

“They can certainly build a very nice medical center here,” she said. “They can do it, they just need the will.”

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