Monroe Pediatrics treated its young patients in the Monroe Professional Building at 450 Monroe Turnpike for 30 years, until an evening blaze ended the long run on June 16,2011. Now a year later, the physicians' practice has found a new home on Purdy Hill Road — behind Walgreens Pharmacy.
On Wednesday night, First Selectman Steve Vavrek, the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and Monroe Economic Development Commission joined the doctors and staff in a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the official grand opening of their new location.
The pediatrics practice had been operating at 765 Main Street since the fire, but Dr. Jason Citarella said that location was too small.
"It's nice to be back in a permanent location on Monroe Turnpike," Dr. Citarella said of the close proximity to the commercial strip the old office had called home for three decades. "It's good to be back at Monroe Turnpike in a bigger facility for our patients. It's just bigger, newer and more modern. We definitely need the upgrade after all these years."
Dr. Citarella said Monroe Pediatrics had actually moved into its new space at the end of May. "It definitely feels like home now," he added.
The practice also includes doctors Pedro J. Malave, Maria L. Ferreira, Mary J.B. Paramanathan and Nicholas Tzakas.
The space at 162 Purdy Hill Road opened up when in December of 2010. The landlord, David D'Ausilio, managing member of Purdy Hill Investors LLC, needed a new tenant and found out about Monroe Pediatrics through a conversation with the first selectman.
"I was networking to find a tenant and Steve was instrumental," said D'Ausilio. "I was in the town hall working on a residential transaction and I said, 'Steve, do you know anyone? I have this space.'"
Vavrek mentioned Monroe Pediatrics and gave D'Ausilio Dr. Citarella's phone number.
But before the new office could open, the Planning & Zoning Commission had to grant a change of use from retail to medical, and commissioners unanimously approved it with conditions on Jan. 12.
Of Monroe Pediatrics, D'Ausilio said, "It's a natural fit having a medical use near a pharmacy. There is good parking. Instead of a large office building, going in and out with children is easy."
Monroe Pediatrics' building is one-story and a row of parking spaces is right by the front door.
Vavrek said, "Monroe Pediatric's belongs in Monroe and I give credit to Mr. D'Ausilio for bringing them in. It's behind Walgreens in a very visible location between two good businesses in town. They want to be here. Though they are spread out in other communities, the home base is in Monroe."
Aside from Walgreens, Monroe Pediatrics shares the commercial property with Purdy Hill Bakery & Deli.
Other town officials attending Wednesday's ceremony included Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Raymond Giovanni, EDC Chairman Lee Hossler and EDC Commissioner Teri Rotella.
Giovanni said, "Monroe Pediatrics has been a member for years and we were very upset when they lost their facility. They were on Main Street for over a year. We're happy they're back on this side of town and they have a brand new facility. They are very well received in Monroe and very accomodating — open seven days a week."