The land located at the corner of Ninth and Triplett Streets is in the process of receiving a facelift. City officials broke ground Wednesday for the new Wendell Foster outpatient therapy building in the same location the chapel once stood.
The $3.5 million, 12,600 square-foot comprehensive facility will primarily contain the physical therapy department but will be used by all programs, which will allow Wendell Foster to expand its reach and services. Wendell Foster currently serves over 500 clients.
Prior to the groundbreaking, Cathy Mullins sang the National Anthem.
Wendell Foster CEO Eric Sharf told the attendees that the all-faith chapel that had previously stood on the ground where the new facility will be built was necessary at the time so that residents could visit a chapel at a time when transportation was difficult for people with physical challenges.
Now, he said, transportation and services are readily attainable and the chapel had morphed into a maintenance building, which was later needed to house the maintenance department and equipment.
“But this groundbreaking is the future of Wendell Foster,” Sharf told the crowd, adding that the state-of-the-art facility will be used not only by the residents but also by the local and regional community.
Wendell Foster chaplain Mark Adkins gave a blessing on the land before Mayor Tom Watson spoke of his involvement with Wendell Foster for the last 45 years with his prosthetic business.
“I don’t know of another community who offers what Wendell Foster does,” Watson said, adding that it was just another element that makes Owensboro unique.
Chairman of the Wendell Foster board Terry Ward said that he believes the original founders, Wendell and Edith Foster, would be proud of the plans for the new outpatient therapy building because it falls in line with the same philosophy for offering services they so strongly believed in offering in 1937.
The building is expected to be completed by April 2020.