CHILLICOTHE – The Carlisle Building stands at the corner of Paint and Main streets in Chillicothe like a sentinel, the nightly light emanating from its tower casting its glow over the results of a downtown resurgence its restoration helped launch.
Now, six years since Adena’s involvement in the restoration project helped reopen the building’s doors in 2015, the Health System has completed the purchase of the Carlisle to put ownership of the building in local hands and marking just its latest commitment to improving the overall health of the communities Adena serves.
For more than a decade, the Carlisle Building sat vacant, a burned-out shell of its former glory following a fire that gutted the structure in April of 2003. Identified in a 2007 economic development study as one of the key catalyst projects needed to revitalize downtown Chillicothe, Adena’s commitment to becoming the main tenant in a restored Carlisle after several failed starts and stops to renovate the building by other organizations was the crucial step needed to obtain the necessary state and federal tax credits to push the project forward.
In October of 2015, the building was officially reopened. Adena, utilizing the main floor as office and community room space and apartments on the upper floors as housing for its medical education students, was granted a 15-year lease with the right to purchase the building outright after the first five years. Ty McBee, Adena’s Vice President of Business Strategy, said conditions were right this summer to purchase the building and live up to the original intent to provide it with local ownership.
While the restored Carlisle created a fresh look at the corner of Paint and Main and provided downtown business owners with a new customer base from among those living in the building, it has been credited with doing far more for the health of the community.
“It created a different mindset,” said McBee. “Before the restoration, you’d drive past and see an ‘X’ on the building (to keep firefighters from entering an unsafe structure) which almost gave an impression saying we’d given up, we can’t fix our problems. The Carlisle restoration created a mindset that if this community is able to partner and create a dialogue with each other, as well as pull in the right expertise and get people engaged, that we can fix problems. I think that mindset has continued to today.”
Working from that mindset has made a considerable difference in the downtown landscape.
“Since the Carlisle reopened, the Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce has welcomed more than 70 new businesses, including 13 different restaurants, two breweries, 27 salons and shops and 10 things to do,” said Chamber President and CEO Mike Throne, adding that he believes the Carlisle served as a catalyst for the downtown revitalization movement.
Adena has long recognized that the overall health of the communities it serves goes beyond providing quality care in its clinics and surgical suites, it also means creating an overall environment for healthier living. That takes partnering with other key members of the community, the possibilities of which emerged during the Carlisle project and continue to be built upon today in a growing number of partnerships Adena has helped forge.
“We take care of our friends and neighbors and while we will be there for them in their time of greatest need, we also want them to enjoy their greatest health so they can fully participate in the life that they have,” said Dr. John Gabis, Adena’s Medical Director of Community Partnerships. “In addition, when you look at places that have a healthy population, they have a healthy workforce. As we look at economic development, if we’re able to have a healthy community, that, by itself, can help attract employers.”
Adena’s involvement in partnerships continues to grow as new initiatives are developed and rolled out. Some, but not all, of those include:
· Involvement with city and county school districts to develop a school-based wellness initiative that will coordinate health and wellness services for students and staff. This expands dramatically on original partnerships that provided athletic trainers to care for student-athletes.
· Work with the Hope Partnership Project to combat opioid abuse. Adena is also a major sponsor of The Buck Fifty, an annual 24-hour team running event to raise money for the county schools’ Drug Free Clubs of America.
· Several programs in connection with the YMCA of Ross County. These include an optimization program for those about to have orthopedic surgery, a Live Strong program to help those with a cancer diagnosis stay physically fit and active, a pre-diabetes program that can help keep participants from developing full-blown diabetes and a pending program to help people self-manage high blood pressure. Adena also partners with the YMCA in Walk With a Doc, a program in which participants can take part in a planned physical activity with an Adena physician while also asking questions about the health care topic of the day.
· Work with the City of Chillicothe on various initiatives impacting community health. This includes service on the Mayor’s COVID Response Team, promoting the use of bicycle commutes and walking as part of the city’s Active Transportation program and working with public transit to improve transportation services to local health care facilities.
· Work with the Ross County Health District and several other organizations as a member of Partners for a Healthier Ross County and Ross Safe Communities initiatives. A community health needs assessment conducted every three years through these partnerships helps identify health trends in the community and spark discussions on how to address them.
· Involvement with initiatives of the United Way of Ross County, including an annual corporate donation, service on the Board of Trustees and volunteering to pack Mighty Active Pack weekend food supply kits.
A successful approach to community health involves the entire community. Since its inception, Adena has recognized and embraced that fact and will continue to do so in the weeks, months, years and decades to come, just as it has for more than 125 years.