The new Cambridge Square development in Ooltewah is quickly adding almost every type of business imaginable.
It seems the one missing piece was health care.
That is all about to change.
SkyRidge Medical Center broke ground Thursday on a new 5,000-square-foot multispecialty clinic.
SkyRidge CEO Coleman Foss was joined by several dignitaries as the first shovel of dirt was turned, preparing the ground for a major step into SkyRidge’s evolution.
SkyRidge will be joining the new development that has been springing up over the last two years.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger noted he had just come off one major business announcement — that of the Volkswagen expansion — and now the addition of SkyRidge to the county.
“I’m just totally impressed,” Coppinger said.
He said there is a lot of fanfare when a large company makes the type of announcement Volkswagen did.
“But, I want to remind people it’s companies like SkyRidge that’s coming to the area that is really important to our county,” Coppinger said.
He noted the importance of the small business to economic development.
“Ninety-three percent of the 8,500 [in Hamilton County] are small businesses and we can’t forget about our small businesses that keep the county propped up,” he said. “It was important for me to be here to welcome another good small business — a good, quality health care
business — into the Ooltewah and Collegedale area to serve the people. What a great fit it is and an absolutely marvelous setting.”
Foss said the center was excited to be there.
“There’s been an awful lot going on at SkyRidge for the last couple of years in Cleveland and, with the support of our board and our staff, we have long had a vision of moving down this way. We have a lot of our staff who lives in this area and we continue to see it grow,” Foss said.
He said with the growth of Volkswagen and the growth of Bradley County, the addition to the Ooltewah area “made good sense.”
Foss called the setting at Cambridge Square “super” and said it would serve the area very well.
“We hope not only to have this service start here, but to grow here,” he said. “We want to see a lot of positive things happen. Hospitals are a service industry. We’re all about taking care of as many people as we possibly can. So, to reach out to this community means a lot to us.”
Joshua Michalski, co-owner of the area Curves franchise, as well as vice president of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce working with the Ooltewah and Collegedale areas, said the addition of SkyRidge to Ooltewah is major.
“This is absolutely huge,” Michalski said. “This area has seen such tremendous expansion and Cambridge Square is just one of many variables.”
He said there is not only a population growth, but an expansion of workforce development.
“To have more medical presence just makes sense,” Michalski said. “To have a major player like SkyRidge come into our community is a big deal. We’re very excited to have them.”
The growth of SkyRidge to another county still benefits its home county.
“SkyRidge is one of the largest employers in Bradley County and when they can branch out into the region that’s good for all of us,” said Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gary Farlow.
“To me, it’s another good example of a regional project that will benefit everybody,” he said. “Keeping SkyRidge in the forefront of medical care here is a good thing for all of us and makes us stronger in Cleveland.”