Ribbon cut, Hayneville Wellness Center to open soon

Published 8:58 pm Monday, October 21, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

Hayneville and Lowndes County residents will soon be able to take charge of their own health thanks to the new Hayneville Wellness Center for which the ribbon was cut on Friday and which is expected to open for business in three to four week.

Located next to Hayneville Town Hall on Alabama Highway 21, the new Hayneville Wellness Center is “a partnership” between Health Services Inc. (HSI), which operates the Family Health Center in Hayneville, and the town of Hayneville, said Hayneville Mayor Kelvin J. Lawrence.

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He said the town of Hayneville donated the property for the facility and HSI found the investors.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, Friday, marked the 99 percent completion mark of construction, which began on Jan. 23, and “the vision of the community,” said C. Bernell Mapp, CEO for HSI.

He said he approached former Hayneville Mayor Helenor Bell two years about a financial investment opportunity that involved Montgomery and potentially Lowndes County.

He said HSI was looking at operating two wellness centers, one in Montgomery and one potentially in Hayneville. And, he said, Bell was excited and encouraged HSI to be a part of it, as well as the Hayneville Town Council.

He said the Hayneville Wellness Center is actually part of a project that involved investors U.S. Bank and Community Development Corporation and the New Market Federal Tax Credit federal program (NMTC).

According to Mapp, NMTC allows certain entities with qualifying projects to use their resources to partner with investment firms to generate capital and tax credits, which provide financing and favorable mortgages for a proposed project.

“I am thrilled HSI is able to provide another venue for area residents to engage in activities that improve health and happiness,” Mapp said on the day ground was broken for the Hayneville Wellness Center.

“We hope this can be the first step in raising community awareness that people can take charge of their health and not be burdened unnecessarily with certain chronic diseases,” he said.

Mapp said the mission of HSI is to create primary care and “preventative health services.” He said wellness centers provide the community the opportunity to learn how to take care of their health in order to experience a better quality of life.

“Providing a place where residents can participate in wellness classes, receive nutritional counseling, a weight loss program, access to exercise equipment and a support system that encourages healthy lifestyles is what Hayneville Wellness Center is all about,” Mapp said.

Mapp said Friday that the Hayneville Wellness Center is 99 percent complete and will open for business in three to four weeks. He said W.K. Upchurch Construction Company built it.

The Hayneville Wellness Center will provide education and fitness, according to Lawrence.

He said a person struggling with diabetes who is overweight would be diagnosed at the Family Health Center in Hayneville, but new Hayneville Wellness Center would formulate a plan to help this person lose weight.

Lawrence called last Friday a great day for the citizens of Hayneville and Lowndes County as a whole. “We’re one step closer to helping the citizens live healthier lives.”

He said the center would be open to the public including citizens of Hayneville and the surrounding areas. “It was a vision that was started in the prior administration and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” Lawrence said.

He also said the leadership of Hayneville “is all about improving the quality of life for the citizens one project at a time.”

According to HSI, it was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1968 to provide primary health care services to indigent persons in Montgomery County. Today, HSI operates ten primary care centers in six Alabama counties and is the main provider of primary care services to the medically underserved residents of south central Alabama.