Scarborough Downs owners to retrofit former harness racing grandstand to create high-volume COVID-19 vaccination clinic
January 20, 2021
SCARBOROUGH, Maine – The owners of the former Scarborough Downs harness racing track have donated use of the facility’s grandstand to MaineHealth, the region’s largest integrated health care system, so that it can open a high-volume COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
Crossroad Holdings, the Scarborough-based company that is redeveloping 500-plus acres at Scarborough Downs, has diverted its construction crews to retrofit the grandstand within a two-week period. Staffed with more than 100 MaineHealth employees and volunteers, the 30,000- square-foot clinic is expected to have the capacity to vaccinate at least 1,000 people per day.
“Finding a space that is centrally located and able to accommodate all the needs of a high-volume clinic is vital to our efforts to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Bill Caron, CEO of MaineHealth. “This generous donation from Crossroad Holdings is big step forward in getting this pandemic under control and saving lives here in Maine.”
A 40-member construction team managed by Scarborough’s Maine Properties and Risbara Brothers Construction will work 7-days a week to complete the clinic by the end of January. It is expected to be operational for six months. The construction teams will build clinical workspaces, improve access to high-speed broadband and build out refrigeration rooms needed to house the vaccines. The State of Maine will assist with on-site security.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills has authorized the administration of COVID-19 vaccines to people 70 and older, and MaineHealth has worked closely with the state to roll out vaccinations and clinics as quickly as possible.
“With Maine’s limited and inconsistent supply of vaccine, we are distributing what we have to protect the largest number of people as soon as we can, starting with those who are 70 and older because they are most at risk of suffering or dying if they contract COVID-19,” said Mills. “Sites like Scarborough Downs, where a large number of people can safely and efficiently be vaccinated, will be critical to saving the lives of Maine people, keeping them healthy, putting an end to this pandemic and getting back to normal. We will continue to examine and plan for additional sites across the state.”
“Our State’s front-line healthcare workers are the true heroes and we are proud to support them,” said Peter Michaud, Managing Partner at Crossroads Holdings and Maine Properties, a property management and construction company. “Our employees and business partners have really stepped up to meet these critical deadlines because we all know that this work will save lives,” Michaud added.
Town leaders in Scarborough have been extraordinarily supportive of the project. They have worked quickly to secure all needed permits for the grandstand’s new, temporary use. The Town Council will hold an emergency meeting to approve and finalize plans on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
MaineHealth is establishing clinics across its service area in the 11 southernmost counties in Maine, as well as in Carroll County, N.H. The Scarborough clinic will be a key vaccination resource for people in Cumberland County and northern York County.
MaineHealth began offering vaccines to people 70 and older in accordance with guidelines from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on January 18, and it is in the process of setting up its clinics and establishing a system for making appointments. Demand for the vaccine has been high - much greater than the weekly supply of vaccines being distributed to the states from the federal government. On the first day that MaineHealth’s call center was fully operational, the phone line received calls from more 18,000 individuals seeking vaccination, far exceeding the capacity of available appointments.
The Scarborough Downs clinic will be an important resource for ramping up that capacity in response to the extraordinary demand.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of nine local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,700 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With close to 23,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. It includes Franklin Memorial Hospital/Franklin Community Health Network in Farmington, LincolnHealth in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor, Maine Behavioral Healthcare in South Portland, MaineHealth Care at Home in Saco, Maine Medical Center in Portland, Memorial Hospital in North Conway, N.H., Mid Coast-Parkview Health in Brunswick, NorDx in Scarborough, Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County Hospital in Rockport and Belfast, Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford and Sanford, Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook and Stephens Memorial Hospital/Western Maine Health Care in Norway. MaineHealth Affiliates include Maine General Health in Augusta and Waterville, New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Portland and St. Mary's Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. It is also a significant stakeholder in the MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization in Portland.
About The Downs:
The Downs, a 525-acre planned community in Scarborough will offer three distinct components to ‘live, work and play,’ which earned the project a tagline of “A Community Trifecta.” The property will be home to a 150-acre innovative business park, a walkable Town Center, 200 acres of greenspace, 10-miles of recreational trails and several mixed-use housings neighborhoods. At full buildout, the entire project is estimated to create over $615M in new value; over $10M in new tax revenue; nearly 2M square feet of commercial space and as many as 3,000 new jobs.