Plans to move the nonprofit Health Care Access clinic to a larger location near Lawrence Memorial Hospital are now all but certain following new federal stimulus dollars the group has received.
Nikki King, executive director of Health Care Access, on Thursday hailed a decision by the Lawrence City Commission to set aside $75,000 in new stimulus money to be used for moving the clinic, which serves people who can’t afford traditional medical care.
“I’m doing cartwheels,” King said.
King said the $75,000 is enough to ensure that Health Care Access won’t lose a previously awarded $96,000 state grant that was given to help the clinic move from its longtime location at 1920 Moodie Road to a former medical office across Maine Street from LMH. The grant required matching funds in order for it to be used.
“The grant is secured now, and we’re moving ahead to close on the building,” King said.
The group, however, is still raising funds. King said her hope is that Health Care Access can raise at least another $60,000 from the community. That would allow the agency to purchase the building — a former dentist and podiatrist office at 330 Maine — without going into debt.
The 3,700-square-foot building would allow Health Care Access to operate with 11 exam rooms. Currently, the clinic has five. King said the new space would allow the clinic to add more appointment times for people to be seen during the day.
“It is needed because the demand for our services is higher than I’ve ever seen it in the 10 years I’ve been here,” King said.
King said she hopes to finalize purchase of the building by June 30, but said she had not yet set an exact date for when the clinic would open at the new location.
The stimulus funding was part of $216,798 in federal dollars the city’s Community Development Block Grant program was awarded in early May.
In addition to the Health Care Access project, commissioners awarded:
• $78,789 to the Lawrence Community Shelter for its efforts to remodel space at 1242 Mass. into a temporary homeless shelter. The funding is contingent upon the shelter proposal winning the necessary permits from the Lawrence City Commission.
• $34,210 to Women’s Transitional Care Services to make repairs to its shelter for battered women.
• $7,000 to Tenants to Homeowners to create a community green space project at its housing development at 1601 Bullene Ave.
• $21,799 was allowed to be kept by the city’s Community Development Division to administer the grant funds.