Officials fling the first soil into the air at ground breaking ceremony for the Peninsula Community Health Center in Soldotna.
In the early 1990’s a small group of concerned community members stepped forward to see what could be done to mitigate the growing problem of health care to the un-and-underinsured on the Kenai Peninsula. From those initial efforts came several organizations such as Healthy Communities Healthy People, Bridges, Village Health Fairs, and ultimately Central Peninsula Health Centers which has been operating the Cottonwood health and Aspen dental clinics.
Artist's rendering of the new facility on the site where ground was officially broken last week to begin construction.
Then in 2004 the non-profit boards of Central Peninsula Health Centers and Central Peninsula Counseling Services realized that a centrally located, easily accessible community health center would be a valuable resource for the entire community. The two organizations agreed to co-locate Cottonwood Health Center and Central Peninsula Counseling Services in a facility to be located at Tyee Street and E. Marydale Ave. in Soldotna that would provide both primary health care and behavioral health services for peninsula residents. Last week at the ground breaking ceremony the first soil was symbolically turned by sponsors and community officials to mark the beginning of construction of the new $10 million dollar facility. “This is the further fulfillment of our original dream which was to bring services to the un-and-underinsured and to house those services in a facility that can accommodate the services that we provide,” said Stan Stedman, executive director for Central Peninsula Health Centers and one of the original group of citizens that came together in the ‘90’s. The facility has been designed by Kluge & Associates of Kenai and will be constructed by Soldotna Contractor Dan Green of G&S Construction.
The organization has created a funding partnership of federal, state, and foundation agencies that are each participating in raising the $10 million dollars. Fifty percent of the funding will be provided by the Denali Commission. Assisting with the ground breaking last week was president and C.E.O. of the Rasmuson Foundation Diane Kaplan. The Rasmuson Foundation has made a major commitment to the project, contingent on a local effort, “This is core to the kind of work we do all around Alaska, so it was a natural for us to engage in this effort given the project leadership and community support. The Rasmuson contribution is about a million dollars but in order for the clinic to receive those million dollars, $250,000 will have to be raised locally,” explained Kaplan.
Rev. Jon Walters, pastor of the United Methodist Church of the New Covenant in Kenai, has been appointed to chair the local campaign and he has already gathered a fund raising cabinet, “We call it the Capitol Campaign Cabinet and like a cabinet we are opening the doors for everyone to participate in raising our quarter of a million locally. I have a great group of people I’m working with and we know there are a lot of local individuals, businesses and agencies, who will want to be part of this important effort,” said Walters. The Capitol Campaign Cabinet will have 18 months to reach their goal, “Pledges may be spread out over two years and we’re looking at being able to do pay roll deductions and we are also looking for businesses who will match their employee contributions,” added Walters. Anyone wishing to participate may call Walters at 283-7868, or leave a message at his church.
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