Doctor's office opening in Sarasota's Newtown community

- Every small community has a few local staples needed to keep its people thriving: a grocery store, a dentist, a restaurant, a gas station and maybe a bowling alley or movie theater.

Sarasota's Newtown community is no different, but it has been missing a crucial element for years - a doctor's office.

Jetson Grimes has lived and worked in Newtown for more than 60 years and takes pride in the area. He's excited for the positive change a medical practice will bring. 

"I am always supporting something positive happening in the community," he said. "For a long time, we didn't even have access to Sarasota Memorial hospital. That makes it even more special to see they are making an investment like this in our community. I feel like we have come a long way from, say, 40 years ago."

In less than a year the Sarasota Memorial Internal Medicine Building will open with multiple primary care doctors based at the practice. The practice will offer family medical services, and will also provide care for un- and underinsured patients, and those who cannot afford care. 

"We really wanted to give back to the community. We wanted to put facilities where they were most needed and where they would be most utilized," said Sarasota Memorial CEO and President David Verinder.

There will also be a teaching staff from Florida State University and 13 resident physicians. Once residents complete three years of training, Sarasota Memorial is hopeful the doctors will stay with the practice.

"You make it a place where they want to be, where they want to live, where they want to practice. The experience is that 77-percent of them will stay where you are. We hope we can do better than that," said Verinder.

Neighbors and local businesses hope the medical practice will help rejuvenation efforts already underway. 

"This is the corner stone to revitalization. Much can take place in buildings and brick and mortar, but without a healthy community there is nobody to go there," said Mayor Willie Shaw. 

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