Marino compliments company for taking action
By Joshua Maloni
Construction on a WellNow Urgent Care on Center Street began last winter, and, at that time, Public Relations Manager Annie Keller said, “It’s still early in the process, but we anticipate a 2023 opening for our upcoming center in Lewiston.”
With the exterior shell in place, residents awaited that opening. But up until last week, when workers were seen on site, it appeared the project was stalled. No progress was seen inside the clear, glass windows for several weeks.
Mayor Anne Welch said there is a good reason for the delay: “The back of the property eroded and needed a retaining wall” above neighboring Onondaga Street.
She explained, “That cost a lot of money; and they had to put drainage back there, because of the people behind it. … That's why it slowed down any construction inside.”
Village of Lewiston Engineer Mike Marino added, “That back slope that they have, they noticed that there was some movement where the parking lot ended in the back – in the slope, kind of where they were working – that, if it was left unaddressed, that it likely would have continued to deteriorate and slide down. So, they had stepped up, actually – which is a great thing, I think – and decided to put a bigger retaining wall up there, that has soldier piles and wooden lag boards in there.”
He said WellNow used a geotechnical engineer to formulate plans to shore up the site.
Marino said, “That definitely, I think, set them back from opening, because that's no small expense to construct a retaining wall like that. So, good on them that they did that.
“But now that they've got that completed, that disturbed some other areas of that slope. So, we were just looking to see how is the drainage impacted by that. Is there anything else that needs to be addressed before final final. Because there is a ditch that kind of runs along where the rear property line is, already, that's collecting water, and we don't want to mess with the toe of the slope any more, in particular, than we would have to, because of the retaining wall. We don't want to undermine that.
“By what they've constructed there with the retaining wall, and with the parking lot that they've created, it actually has more control over the runoff now, and they've got it directed to catch basins and out. Essentially, the amount of water leaving the site now – especially out of the back – is reduced than what it was on paper, engineering wise, by the numbers.
“There's no real issue going to the back. We're just trying to give the reality check to it all, to look at it and see – especially since the wall’s been in place for a little bit now, just to kind of see are we seeing any impacts. Are we getting any swampy areas back there or anything. That's just kind of the final check we need to do with that.”
Marino added, “There was motion, and they did step up to address it, and just didn't try to sweep it under the table.”
NFP reached out to Keller for comment. In an initial email reply, she wrote, “The timing has been pushed back and a specific opening date has not been confirmed yet. However, we are looking forward to opening our Lewiston location as soon as possible.”
WellNow Urgent Care purchased almost one acre of property, at 860 Center St. – between APlus/Sunoco and Lewiston Family Dental – in the spring of 2022. In December, Keller said, “We expect construction to be completed in March, and we anticipate an early spring opening. We’ll be hiring five to 10 employees to staff the new center.”
She added, “The new center will provide treatment for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses, as well as occupational medicine services, including workers’ compensation assistance, pre-employment physicals, drug and alcohol testing and more. Most insurance is accepted, including Medicare and Medicaid, and we offer competitive self-pay rates for patients without insurance.”