Patrons working out at Rocky River’s Don Umerley Civic Center last week were greeted by the sight of movers hauling equipment out of the Fairview Hospital rehabilitation facility, formerly located in the fitness center.
A sign on the door of the facility informed patients that rehabilitation services were relocating to continue to provide top-notch service, and directed them to the Fairview Park Recreation Center, Wellington Place, in North Olmsted, and the Fairview Hospital Wellness Center on Detroit Road in Rocky River.
“This wasn’t something we were predicting or looking forward to,” stated recreation department director Tom Fattlar, when reached for comment. “They told us they had reorganization in the department and they are consolidating by eliminating some facilities,” he explained.
The civic center was built in 2003, and the rehabilitation facility was part of an addition, opened in September 2007, consisting of an indoor pool, spa, weight machines and other fitness equipment. “It was built with the idea that a lease was being prepared, and some of the designs were specific to their needs,” Fattlar said. The 2,000-square-foot area consists of a therapy room, multiple office space and a meeting area. About 4,100 visits were recorded at the center last year, and patients also had access to the fitness equipment and pool for rehabilitation sessions. The hospital backed out with one more year left on a five-year agreement.
A spokesperson for the hospital stated that the Rocky River site was closed due to streamlining of the rehabilitation program, the close proximity of other sites and patient usage. She said about 450 patients actually used the site last year
According to Fattlar, that lease generated $42,000 for the recreation department last year, which went toward programming. “This will have an effect we were not planning on,” Fattlar said of Parks and Recreation’s $3 million budget.
The Fairview Hospital website showed that both the Rocky River and Fairview Park rehabilitation centers offered physical therapy, sports medicine and aquatic therapy. Both were called “state of the art” and “able to serve all your outpatient physical therapy and sports medicine needs.” Wellington Place and the Fairview Hospital Wellness Center are listed as providing physical and occupational therapy.
Fattlar said that some “brainstorming” is going on as to what will happen to the space. While expansion of the recreation center is a possibility, ideally, a tenant is being sought, preferably one that will offer similar health services.
“We were happy with the existing arrangement,” said Fattlar, adding “We are very disappointed. It was a good fit.”
Fattlar also touched on the fact that the fitness center will closed for a period of time this summer for repair work on the roof, which was found to be faulty shortly after construction in 2007. “Hopefully, with the next few weeks, we’ll have better numbers,” Fattlar said of the predicted down time, which he said will coincide with routine maintenance. He further explained that the roof does not actually leak, but due to a design flaw holds in condensation during cold weather, which then leaches back into the roof.
“This is a great facility. It will be nice to have the high-quality appearance of the building back,” he said.