New Hospital Breaks Ground At Historic Ludlow Mills
Federal, State and local officials were on hand today [Wednesday] at a ground breaking ceremony for a new hospital in Ludlow, Massachusetts. The $27 million HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital is a key component of the ongoing redevelopment project of the historic Ludlow Mills.
Situated along the banks of the Chicopee River, the Ludlow Mills occupies about 170 acres and, in its heyday nearly a hundred years ago, it was the largest jute making facility in the world employing over 5,000 people. But like so many other mills across the region, the complex fell on hard times due to changing markets and remained largely empty until WestMass Area Development Corporation acquired the property last year. Now Health South Rehabilitation Hospital of Western Massachusetts is relocating its facility about five blocks away to a ten acre site at the Mills. Hospital CEO Scott Keen says building a state-of-the-art, 53-bed, 74,000 square-foot facility at the Mills is a good fit
“We've been in Ludlow since 1996, the community has been great, it's supported us, we' have a good collaboration. And the Ludlow Mills is the historical foundation of Ludlow. So when the concept was brought to us, we thought it was a phenomenal idea to help revitalize the foundation of the Mills and help bring it back to the community.”
Congressman Richard Neal, who helped secure an EPA grant earlier this summer to remove asbestos from the site, says Ludlow is among the many New England communities facing the challenge of what to do with aging, idled mills.
“And in this instance, they have found, I think, a suitable reuse. And that's a mixture of healthcare, senior housing and, hopefully, other commercial development.”
WestMass recently announced plans to redevelop another mill building for a $22 million senior independent housing project. Health South officials say they hope to complete the hospital’s construction by the end of 2013.