Memorial rendering

A conceptual rendering of the future campus at the former Memorial Hospital.

PAWTUCKET – Plans for the former Memorial Hospital site to be redeveloped into a facility for seniors and veterans are still on and set to be completed in 2023.

The expansive campus will still have space to meet additional needs in the community, including the new homeless shelter announced by Gov. Dan McKee last week.

Emily Rizzo, spokeswoman for Mayor Donald Grebien, said the developers are proposing the reuse of the former Memorial Hospital to include residential housing, commercial tenants, and education and training-based tenants.

“Several hundred residential units are planned for the site, with the majority to be federally designated affordable housing for elderly and veteran populations,” Rizzo said.

Lockwood Development Partners purchased the former Memorial Hospital property early this year with the initial goal of redesigning the vacant hospital into a warm and clean space for Rhode Island’s senior veteran community to live.

“Talks are ongoing with several education and training based tenants, which the developers, in coordination with the city, are trying to lock in by the second quarter of 2022,” Rizzo said. “The city is working with the developers on rezoning of property, which is slated to be completed in the first half of 2022.”

Rizzo said discussions are still ongoing with state and federal partners related to project financing and phasing.

Gov. Dan McKee and Lieutenant Gov. Sabina Matos announced on Dec. 16 that emergency shelter capacity for the homeless in Rhode Island will be expanded. In Pawtucket, additional non-congregate shelters will be located in the former Memorial Hospital and will be provided by Amos House. They expect to have 80 beds available this week. Amos House worked with the city of Pawtucket, Lockwood Development, and Veterans Services USA.

The revitalization of the former Memorial Hospital will help Pawtucket’s efforts to help the homeless in the city, says Grebien, who thanked the McKee Administration for hearing the city’s concerns and needs of all the communities being impacted by homelessness.

“Individuals and families in Pawtucket and across the state are struggling as services have been taken away over the past couple of years,” Grebien said. “The extra shelter capacity is a beginning to addressing the current issues.”

Deputy Director of Administration Wilder Arboleda said Pawtucket has continuously been working with state officials to help solve the homelessness crisis in the city.

“When the McKee administration came into office in March of 2021, they began to work with municipalities and all stakeholders on increased capacity for individual and family housing,” Arboleda said. “Our goal is to continue to identify ways to increase capacity for individual and family housing on a local level.”

State Sen. Cynthia Mendes, of Senate District 18 in East Providence and Pawtucket, last week ended her sleep-out to draw attention to what she said was the government’s inaction on homelessness. She credited the weeks-long protest outside the Statehouse for pressuring McKee and others into taking action, including the announcement of more beds at Memorial.

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