Wednesday, April 17, 2024

'Things are going well': The former rehabilitation center in Saint-Blancard could come back to life

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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The former functional rehabilitation center in Saint-Blancard was closed in December 2022 and moved to Montegut, and could be transformed into a Vacances Répit Familles village dedicated to patients and their loved ones. The project could be completed before the end of the summer.

“It has plunged the village into a depression.” This short sentence from the Mayor of Saint-Blancard, Christine Hubert, is enough to summarize the devastating impact of the closure of the Center for Functional Rehabilitation (CRF) in December 2022, a logical continuation of the opening of the new health center in Montegut, a few months ago. A week before this sad date, a silent march resembling a funeral procession included 200 people, concerned about their future and the future of the town and neighboring villages.

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After nearly 15 months, the situation has developed and it seems that hope has finally returned within the municipal team. “Things have moved on,” Christine Huppert confirms. It should be noted that the Chancellor has worked hard since the closure of the CRF to alert the authorities, in particular his reception last April by the Director of the Regional Health Agency (ARS Occitanie), Didier Jaffray. “He realized what was at stake,” she says. The task is indeed a major one: to bring an 8,000 square meter healthcare facility back to life2On which all village activity depends. “I don't think there are other examples in Gers of a company of 280 people closing down in the same city. It's not easy to take on the position of mayor. The challenge is there and it's interesting,” Christine Hubert continues.

A silent march took place in December 2022, shortly before the center closed.
DDM – Nadir Debish

In this relentless battle, the mayor of Saint-Blancard was able to count on the support of the Alliance for the Rescue, the former prefect of Gers . “There are many health and social projects underway,” Christine Hubert reveals. According to our information, the one who appears to be holding the rope relates to the installation of the “Vacances Répit Familles” center, a holiday village dedicated to receiving adults and children suffering from rare neuromuscular or neurological diseases, accompanied by all members of their families.

“I'm very careful”

Discussions have been opened with a property manager based in the area. The amount remains to be allocated to beautify and renovate the building, which has become somewhat old, to make it attractive to families, as the value of the work is already estimated at several million euros. “We need pleasant rooms,” emphasizes ARS Managing Director Didier Pierre Florentin, aware of the importance of this rehabilitation project for the future of Saint-Blancard. “It is the relaunch of a rural village through a classic tourism project on the one hand, and an integration, inclusion and comfort project on the other hand.”

According to our information, the project to convert the former CRF could be implemented by the end of the summer, for the hoped-for opening in 2025. “Things are well underway,” Christine Huppert confirms, identifying “other similar projects” being implemented elsewhere in the national territory. “I'm very careful: as long as it's not done, it's not done,” she slips. Meanwhile, the Mayor of Saint-Blancard smiles again: “Things have improved a lot in a year and I thank all the people next to me who support me, because there are many of them,” she concludes. .

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