After years of discussion, the plans to renovate and expand the services offered at The Nathaniel Witherell nursing home are set to begin.
After receiving approvals from the Board of Estimate and Taxation and the Representative Town Meeting to release the $24 million needed for 'Project Renew,' an official groundbreaking for the work has been scheduled for 3 p.m., Jan. 17.
The groundbreaking had been on hold, pending notification from Gov. Dannel Malloy's office that the state's chief executive could attend. Democratic Greenwich Selectman Drew Marzullo said Wednesday he received confirmation Malloy will attend.
"His office said Gov. Malloy is 'excited' to attend and they used the word excited, and that he knows how important this is to Greenwich," Marzullo said. Marzullo said he anticipates Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and US Rep. Jim Himes (D-4) also will attend. Both have been supporters of the project, along with Malloy, and Greenwich's state legislative delegation. They all attended an October 2011 bipartisan rally at the Parsonage Road facility after the state approved a certificate of need for the renovation.
Marzullo recalled that visit and Malloy saying, "count me in" when the groundbreaking would occur.
The Witherell plan has been on the drawing boards for at least a decade.
Project Renew will include upgrades to the electrical, heating and ventilation systems and to increase the number of private rooms. By increasing the number of private rooms, the nursing home will be in a stronger position to market its facilities as a short-term rehabilitation operation for patients who need to transition from hospital care to independent home living.
The Nathaniel Witherell is one of two municipally-operated facilities in Connecticut and was named one of the top nursing homes in Connecticut by U.S. New and World Report last year.
"There is no better run skilled nursing facility than Nathaniel Witherell," Marzullo said. "They do amazing things. I'm a medic, so I see it all the time."