Ely Free Clinic gets a new home

Service to resume in August

K. Vandervort
Robyn Bertelsen, site coordinator for the Ely Free Clinic, stands in front of their Sheridan Street facility. The clinic will move into new quarters in the Frandsen Bank Building.
Keith Vandervort

ELY - Project Care Free Clinic in Ely will be closing temporarily as they move into their new location in a former dentist’s office in the Frandsen Bank Building at 40 North 1st Ave. East.

Project Care held their last clinic this week at their current location on Sheridan Street. They expect to be re-opened at their new location in August.

“We are in the process of packing and moving our things to store them at the new site,” said Executive Director Carrie Estey-Dix. “Our contract with the new landlord does not take effect until July 15 and we will not resume our clinics until the first week in August. This will allow us time to prepare the new site.”

The new site is basically move-in ready with the exception of some minor adjustments such as adding privacy doors and some touch up paint to the walls, she said.

Range Mental Health Center will be sharing the space with the Ely Free Clinic. “We will be sharing the cost of all related expenses. An agreement has been made between Mary Carpenter Co-Executive Director of RMHC, Dr. Scott and us that RMHC and Project Care will pay a minimal fee to cover the cost of the utilities and some other minor building monthly expenses,” she said.

The Project Care Ely clinic has been in operation since March 2011, most recently at 232 W. Sheridan St., the former Pebble Spa, and originally the clinic operated out of another portion of the Fransden Bank building now occupied by Up North Jobs, according to Ely site coordinator Robyn Bertelsen.

The free medical service is offered to all who need it. “On a good night we will see as many as six patients,” Bertelsen said. “Now with the warmer weather, business is picking up.”

The owners of the Pebble Spa and the Sheridan Street building have donated rent to Project Care Ely during their tenure there. “They find they are in need of this building (as living quarters) as their business continues to grow,” she said.

During the transition, the clinic does not have a temporary location. “As Carrie and the Board of Directors feel it is unfair to our patients, volunteers and staff to try to operate (from a temporary location), the decision was made last week to temporarily close until we are in our new location,” Bertelsen said.

“I have been extremely grateful for the Lindseys as they have been very generous over the last couple of years and have donated the current space with Project Care only having to pay a minimal amount for utilities,” Estey-Dix said.

“Securing a location for the clinic is always challenging. Project Care’s main office is in Hibbing and since the inception our model has grown, and we want to continue to provide quality care affordably and effectively,” she said. “Temporarily closing the Ely clinic was not on the top of my list of favorites in my position. My passion drives Project Care to continue with its mission, however, I must do what is in the best interest for all involved. I do believe that all does work out when we do the right thing; that is what we did, and it all came together. Dr. Scott is a very kind and generous man, and it shows. This move will allow Project Care Ely to grow with the times and especially with the Affordable Care Act in place, we all must work together to continue to fill in the gaps.”

During the transition, Project Care Ely patient records will be on file at the Virginia Project Care offices, Bertelsen said. The Virginia Free Clinic is open every Wednesday from 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Any questions should be referred to Bertelsen at robyn-projectcare@qwestoffice.net, Estey-Dix at carrie-projectcare@qwestoffice.net, or call the main office in Hibbing at218-263-8549.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment