WellStar's planned medical facility not getting much talk
by Kathryn Dobies
kdobies@mdjonline.com
May 27, 2010 12:00 AM | 5202 views | 3 3 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EAST COBB - A WellStar representative spoke to Cobb Chamber of Commerce members Wednesday morning about the significance of the new health care bill, but did not touch on WellStar Health System's plan to build a 150,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center on Providence Road.

During her more than 10 minute speech at Indian Hills Country Club in east Cobb, Susan Thompson, executive director of government affairs for WellStar, spoke about the positives and negatives of the health care reform bill and how it will have a ripple effect on consumers and businesses. She did not, however, discuss the health care provider's plans for the medical center or the effect it will have on the community.

Commissioner Bob Ott, who also spoke at the breakfast, briefly mentioned the plans for the new medical center campus, as he called it, but mainly spoke about the other construction projects planned for the east Cobb area.

Ott said he met with WellStar representatives Tuesday and asked to be a part of the stakeholders committee that is planning the renovation of the Johnson Ferry corridor, which will include community projects from Columns Drive at the Chattahoochee River to as far north as Roswell Road.

"In light of, and I know some of you have seen it in the newspapers, and I had meetings with WellStar yesterday, they are looking at the possibilities of putting a medical campus, for lack of a better term, near the East Cobb Park at Providence and Upper Roswell," Ott said. "So what I've asked them to do is become part of the stakeholders committee, so that we can look at what the implications might be for the project that they're proposing."

Following the breakfast, Ott said his meeting with WellStar was mainly conceptual, and that the health care provider does not yet have a solid idea of what it's going to build on the 23-acre site at 3624 Providence Road.

Kim Menefee, WellStar's vice president of community relations, said WellStar officials are just in the beginning stages of meeting with community members, and met with a few leaders, such as Ott and Commissioner Thea Powell, as well as homeowner's associations this week.

While Menefee said WellStar does not have a plan for what the building will look like and is seeking the opinion of community members, who she said are interested in respecting the green space in the area and making the campus aesthetically pleasing. Another concern from the community, Meneffee said, is how it will affect the traffic in the area. Providence Road is a two-lane street that leads to Dodgen Middle and Walton High schools, and is surrounded by residential subdivisions. Menefee said WellStar plans to work with the Department of Transportation and the county commissioners to do a traffic study to consider the best options for traffic to enter and exit the property.

"I think they're anxious to hear our plans more definitively," Menefee said of the homeowners in the area. "... For us, we really don't have the opportunity to build new centers everyday, so we really want one that works for the community, that's environmentally friendly and that really is, for us, a comprehensive center where we can bring services together."

On Monday, WellStar filed a Certificate of Need with the state department of community health for the center, Menefee said.
Comments
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ben walters
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July 09, 2011
I've heard that zoning was pretty much a joke in most of East Cobb County, Georgia. Do not move to East Cobb County, in general, if these type of shenanigans upset you. I'm told that this Wellstar "Health Park" is right across the street from a large, standard public Park, once surrounded by lots of greenery. So sad that the locals of Marietta, Georgia would sell their children's neighborhoods and, oh, how cheaply too. Wellstar should be ashamed, but the residents and local politicians do nothing to stop this.
Glen EC
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March 25, 2011
I do not appreciate Wellstar doing an end-run around the zoning process by building this facility in a residential area by claiming they do not need zoning approval because they have a certificate of need. East Cobb residents do not want or need this facility. The only "need" is Wellstar's "need" to make money by cramming this project down our throats and clogging our already over-crowded streets.
John in East Cobb
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May 28, 2010
They filed a "Certificate of Need". Is that a public document that has been made available for East Cobb residents review? How do I get a copy?
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