Health First Unveils Plans for Merritt Island Wellness Village to Brevard Residents and Businesses
By Space Coast Daily // May 23, 2022
plans also revealed for the new state-of-the-art Cape Canaveral Hospital
BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – Although the event was scheduled for 5-7 p.m., visitors began streaming through the doors of the old Merritt Island Pro-Health & Fitness building around 4:45 p.m. for their first glimpse of the proposed Health First Wellness Village planned for the site.
Health First’s Wellness Villages will be destination centers for consumers that embody the transition from an era almost exclusively focused on sick care to an era of wellness.
The preview event was hosted for Brevard County residents and business owners in order to give them the very first public viewing of plans – including the most detailed renderings to date – as well as the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.
Plans to design and construct Wellness Villages in Brevard County, including the relocation of Cape Canaveral Hospital to a new state-of-the-art facility, were first announced by Health First in 2019 with the goal of transforming the customer healthcare experience across the Space Coast.
These villages will provide modern acute care, complemented by retail and wellness-focused services.
At the core of this transition are Health First’s wellness services, representing the combination of traditional sick care and progressive preventive care, as well as related lifestyle-supporting services – healing well and living well.
They are both designed with the consumer in mind, providing our community what they want, when they want it – with an added bonus of being in one central location.
“This was a terrific opportunity to engage our local community – our customers, stakeholders, neighbors – to first share and experience our vision for the Wellness Village, including plans for the new state-of-the-art Cape Canaveral Hospital,” said Matthew Gerrell, Health First CEO, Retail Services.
“More importantly, this was an opportunity to hear and address their questions, concerns, suggestions and ideas. The Wellness Villages are unique and special in scope, size, design and offerings, and very few healthcare organizations have created or implemented anything similar. This truly is cutting-edge, but we could not accomplish or even dare imagine something so ambitious without the voice of our customers and community by our side or at the heart of all we do.”
Dr. Frank Venzara, a local plastic surgeon with an office just one block away from the Wellness Village site, was in attendance and shared his feedback, offering praise for the project design, area beautification, and ease and convenience.
“I think the most exciting part about the plan is having the parking garage underneath everything, so you don’t have a monstrosity that people go round and round and round in their cars. You just have a couple layers, and then you’re done. And you’re keeping everything else elevated for storms. I think that concept is really great,” said Venzara.
“It’s going to be very green, especially with Keep Brevard Beautiful, the restoration. They’ve cleaned up our median strips and made it a lot more attractive, and I think this is going to be very attractive,” he continued.
Marcus Herman, CEO of nearby Triangle Auto, has been in business for decades in Merritt Island and has worked to transform the area into more of a ‘Merritt Island downtown.’ He called the Wellness Village plans a “game-changer.”
“It’s not just about the hospital itself and the Wellness Village, it’s about the spin-off in the whole Merritt Island area. So, there’s just a lot of details to work out, and I know Health First has been working hard on it. I can’t think of any project as big as this. It’s going to be a game-changer, I really believe that.
“We’ve been working on trying to make this the downtown of Merritt Island with the veteran center near the mall, and we’ve had a lot more interest ever since word’s gotten out that Health First is looking to do what they’re doing here, and they haven’t even seen the plan yet! So, I think that the people of Merritt Island are going to be really excited,” said Herman.
“We’re getting all kinds of calls for redevelopment in the area that we haven’t gotten in a long time, so that’s exciting stuff. Health First has just thought about everything, from the parking to the water drainage, all of that was taken into consideration. Then, you’ve got the Wellness Village, which I like even aside from the hospital. I just think it’s ahead of its time. It must have been very difficult, but as time goes on, this is going to be more the norm.”
Health First has created a new Wellness Villages website for the latest information. Please visit HF.org/wellnessvillages.
Visit HF.org/news_and_events to find out other happenings at Health First.