Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is breaking ground on a neighborhood center in Chicago’s historic Pullman community. Called the Blue Door Neighborhood Center, it will be BCBSIL’s first-ever neighborhood-based site, offering Chicagoans the opportunity to access in-person services aimed at helping them improve their health.
“We believe that health care is local. By working in partnership with residents in the Pullman and Roseland community, our collective efforts can directly impact its overall health,” said Maurice Smith, BCBSIL president. “We plan to offer education and wellness courses, access to support services and help our members make the best use of their benefits.”
The BCBSIL center will occupy 3,700 square feet of space in the 111th Street Gateway Retail Center, which already houses a Potbelly Sandwich shop and Star Cleaners. The retail center was developed and built by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI), a nonprofit community development organization which has created more than 1,300 new jobs and more than 200 new units of housing and is involved with the development of the Pullman Community Center.
“We’re proud to help bring greater access to health information and services to the people of Pullman,” said Ciere Boatright, CNI’s vice president of real estate and inclusion. “Thanks to BCBSIL and all our community partners, we’re building a stronger, healthier community.”
Scheduled for an April 2019 opening, the center’s services will be for everyone in the community, not just BCBSIL members. Programming will be free and will include wellness classes such as yoga or meditation; educational workshops with a focus on nutrition, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and behavioral health and an opportunity for members to meet one-on-one to learn how to make the most of their health care benefits. The center will also feature a meeting room that can be reserved by local non-profit groups for meetings and events.
“Because of the positive economic and social impact that recently completed projects like the Pullman Community Center, the Whole Foods Midwest Distribution Center, Pullman Park and others have had in the community, I’m confident the new Blue Cross Neighborhood Center will continue this positive trajectory well into the future,” said 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale.