“This is the final push,” said Bill Risbarra, at he sat at a table in what will be the queuing space for people waiting to receive their COVID-19 initial shot starting on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 – mid-afternoon.
Workers were putting the finishing touches on the large space that used to serve as the entrance to the ticket counters back in the hey day of harness racing at Scarborough Downs. That work has included new ceiling tiles, painting the walls and fixing drafty windows. With the retrofitting of this space, people will not have to wait out in the cold for their vaccinations. They will be able to sit inside here in a warm place said Mr. Risbarra, one of the owners of the former 70 year old home to Harness Racing at Scarborough Downs.
Back in January of 2018 Mr. Risbarra and his business partners purchased the 500+ acre site from the Terry family, long time owners of the racetrack. Harness racing will resume at the Cumberland Fair Grounds this spring and Risbarra Brothers Co. will help them with the transition.
Those attending the vaccination clinic, the largest in the state of Maine so far, are asked to use the Payne Road entrance. The Route 1 entrance will be closed to all traffic because of the start of construction for the residential, Phase 11, part of the development. That includes 130 new residential units (single-family homes, apartments and condos) which are mostly under contract according to Mr. Risbarra.
There were no plans for this building for the immediate future so this use was a natural use for the clinic.
Mr. Risbara, 56, described the multiple steps that people will follow to obtain their vaccinations including a card that will give them the date of their second vaccination at the end of the process. This room is where recipients of the vaccine will complete their consent forms for the vaccine before getting their shots.
There are a total of 10 check out counters during which the recipients will get a date for their second injection. Other steps will include a “time out” during which MaineHealth staff will determine whether receipients have any adverse reactions to the vaccine. All vaccinations are by appointment only through MaineHealth.
On Monday, February 1, The Downs, will turn over the grandstand to MaineHealth having brought the space up to the standards MaineHalth requires for a vaccination clinic. Monday and Tuesday MaineHealth employees will receive an orientation of the site. Actual “shots in the arms” will be administered on Wednesday, February 3 in the mid-afternoon by MaineHealth. It is expected that between 1,000 and 1,500 shots will be given daily.
“This is an honor to be able to help open up the state again. We have friends and family in other industries not as fortunate as we have been and we want to help them get their businesses going again,” said Mr. Risbarra. Construction workers are considered essential workers he added. “The comrodarie here by the workers has been inspiring. Over 100 men have worked here for 14 days, 7 days a week to transform this site from a grandstand to the first large scale vaccination facility in the State of Maine. That’s where the story is. It’s not about us,” Mr. Risbarra said to mhn.com early this afternoon.
To Request an Appointment at a MaineHealth clinic call 877-780-7545 or text MaineHealth to 877-780-7545. For information about MaineHealth’s vaccination program, visit mainehealthorg/Coronavirus/COVID-19/Vaccine.
Please visit post herein dated January 21, 2021 on The Downs Work in Retrofitting the Grandstands for Vaccination Clinic.