MARIETTA - The majority of the Memorial Health System's outpatient therapy services could be moved to the Frontier Shopping Center in Marietta by the end of the summer, according to a health system spokeswoman.
Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations for the Memorial Health System, said there are no plans finalized yet, but system officials are considering moving into space in the shopping center currently occupied by the Marietta Dance Academy and the Wash-N-Go laundromat.
"Sports Med joined Marietta Memorial Hospital as a department at the end of last year so this is a wonderful opportunity for us to look at our continuum of therapy services and incorporate this into what we already have," Offenberger said.
Sports Med is located in the Frontier Shopping Center between the Marietta Dance Academy and the Wash-N-Go laundromat.
The Frontier Shopping Center is owned by Kris-Mar Inc. in Marietta and Chillicothe-based Butt Realty, according to Patti Finkel, who helps manage the shopping center for Kris-Mar, Inc.
Bob Kirkbride, who assists Kris-Mar Inc. with leasing property in the shopping center, also emphasized nothing has been finalized.
"Our center has had some discussions with the hospital," he said. "There have been no commitments made by either party."
Jill Ruff, owner of the Marietta Dance Academy, said she was first notified by Kris-Mar in December that her business would have to move this spring, but she hasn't been given a final date.
She said the studio has been in its current location five years and she signed a 10-year lease.
"I had planned to stay there 10 years but then this came up," she said. "I've got a very expensive dance floor that can't come up."
Ruff added that she plans to move into another space in the shopping plaza most recently occupied by KT's Video. Finkel said the space is currently vacant and that the video store was the last business located there.
Ruff said while the situation has caused her a lot of anxiety, she understands why the Memorial Health System has a desire to move into the shopping center.
"I know it's going to be an improvement and I know it's going to look great with their brand down there," Ruff said.
A message left with the owner of the laundromat was not returned.
Offenberger said there are several reasons why it will be advantageous for the health system's outpatient therapy services to be in one location.
She said it's a convenient location, there is plenty of parking and the area is flat.
"As we continue to grow here on site we've begun to find parking challenges. Patients have mentioned at times it can be difficult to find a spot," she said. "Moving some of those services off-site helps to relieve some of the pressure we're feeling with parking and that benefits our patients."
Additionally, Offenberger said, the health system sees drawing additional people to the shopping center as a positive thing.
"When you're bringing patients and new people to a facility hopefully they'll take time and shop and patronize some of the merchants there," she said.