Shovels hit the dirt at the site of Breezy Point's future Cuyuna Regional Medical Center on Monday, June 25, during a groundbreaking ceremony.

About 50 people from CRMC, construction companies, political offices and media outlets gathered at the medical center's soon-to-be home to celebrate the project's progress.

"It's a great day for Breezy Point; it's also a great day for CRMC," said Kyle Bauer, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center CEO. "We understand that to be able to manage that care in a community setting, we can't always ask the community to come to us, and so in this case we're actually going to come to the community, and the new Breezy Point clinic will be an important component in helping us achieve that strategic goal. I can say the physicians and staff at CRMC will work diligently to ensure that the residents of Breezy Point and the surrounding communities receive services at CRMC Breezy Point that will be dedicated to excellence and high quality patient care."

Bob Spizzo - CEO of the developer, Whitebirch, Inc. - is excited about the project, which he said is a long time in the making.

"This project is something that's been my dream for probably 40 years. ... Thanks to the mayor, the council, planning and zoning and city administrator - they're making this project come through," Spizzo said, also thanking CRMC officials and Hy-Tec Construction, the construction manager. "We're going to be able to coordinate the architecture, the signage, the landscaping, the colors - everything together - so as you're coming into Breezy Point, you'll say, 'Wow, this is really dynamic.'

"Watch us grow. We've only just begun."

The clinic

The clinic - which is estimated to open in spring 2019 on the corner of County State Aid Highway 11 and Ranchette Drive - will be a 7,000-square-foot facility with one physician and advanced practice provider. There will also be nine exam rooms, a procedure room for outpatient clinic care, laboratory and diagnostic imaging. A pharmacy will be attached, and the facility will have room to expand.

HDR of Minneapolis is the architect behind the project, and Paulson and Clark Engineering, Inc., of White Bear Lake, is the engineer.