Meadville Tribune

Local News

December 1, 2012

Pulse is strong on Vernon Place medical development

VERNON TOWNSHIP — Major medical development Vernon Place — expected to offer Meadville Medical Center’s outpatient services and more at the former Meadville Mall and present Kmart properties on Route 322 in Vernon Township — is progressing on time, much to the excitement of township supervisors and county developers.

The project promises to benefit not just Vernon Township but the businesses in nearby communities as well, such as the City of Meadville.

Vernon Township engineer and MMC representative developer Ashley Porter released the latest designs and maps, detailing the projected location of the planned 22-building facility, to the Crawford County Planning Commission, impressing upon its members the potential magnitude of the development.

“From a Meadville Medical and community perspective, this could be transformational for the community,” he said, confident that Vernon Place and the nearby Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute will draw thousands of visitors from more than 70 zip codes, making Meadville just a mile away from increased commerce.

“The City of Meadville has its character and niche, but you can’t do this (building project) downtown,” Porter continued. “Meadville needs to capitalize on this.”

MMC administrators purchased approximately 49 acres for more than $3 million in 2009 before announcing plans to expand and perhaps combine outpatient and fitness services this fall in hopes of increased affordability and job creation, all packaged in a village-like setting.

“From comprehensive medical care that includes both exercise and nutrition to multifaceted diagnostic and rehabilitation services, Vernon Place is certain to extend the highest quality health care to those we are privileged to serve,” Anne White, director of MMC’s Facilities Development Committee, said in a news release.

Planning commissioners recently agreed overall with the project’s current designs, which border areas along routes 322 and 19 as well as the adjacent wetlands.

“Most of the construction will occur on the currently paved areas (of the former mall site),” said Porter, mentioning potential yet minimized wetland impact later on in the project.

Development drawings illustrate boulevards and marginal access roads, prompting the facility’s ingress and egress points to form possible intersections with those of the Oncology Institute and The Movies at Meadville.

The planning commission offered MMC developers recommended comments, including review of different uses of proposed buildings and parking requirements, signage for the project’s roadways and access points, loading docks or parking spaces for ambulatory or public transit, and requests for developers to submit architectural renderings of proposed buildings throughout various phases.

“This is a good opportunity for Vernon Township and Meadville,” said Arlene Rodriguez, assistant planning director for the planning commission.

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