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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Opening First Neighborhood Center

12/12/2018, noon | Updated on 12/12/2018, noon
A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for the new Blue Door Neighborhood Center that will soon be located in the ...
Students from Betty Shabazz Academy and Barbara A. Sizemore Academy were recently invited to attend the International Manufacturing Technology Show. Photo Credit: Provided by Betty Shabazz Academy

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Opening First Neighborhood Center

BY KATHERINE NEWMAN

A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for the new Blue Door Neighborhood Center that will soon be located in the 111th Street Gateway Retail Center, 756 E. 111th Street, in the Pullman neighborhood.

The neighborhood center is being made possible by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and will give residents the ability to access in person health services.

Since 1936, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has operated as a member-owned health insurance company and is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members, creating better access to health care, and working to lower the overall cost of health care while improving patient outcomes, according to a press release announcing the neighborhood center.

The Blue Door Neighborhood Center in Pullman will be the first-ever neighborhood-based site that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has operated.

“This is all about community and this is very important to me,” said Maurice Smith, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “I’m honored to know that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois is literally groundbreaking today on a new endeavor to serve the community.”

The Blue Door Neighborhood Center in Pullman will provide services for everyone in the community, not just Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois members. The programs will be free and will include, educational workshops with a focus on nutrition, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and behavioral health, wellness classes such as yoga or meditation, and the opportunity for members to meet one-on-one with staff to make sure they are getting the most out of their health care benefits.

“I’m honored to be part of making a difference in the Pullman area. This is a neighborhood that has a historical proud past and a wonderfully bright future. We chose the Pullman neighborhood to be the heart and sole of the first Blue Door Neighborhood Center because we want to be where our members are,” said Smith.

The 111th Street Gateway Retail Center was developed and built by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, a nonprofit community development organization that has been working heavily in Pullman and Chicago’s far south side.

“For the last few years, we have worked really diligently at Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives to find the right mix of tenants for this development. We have been very thoughtful and intentional and we

are thrilled that Blue Cross Blue Shield chose to place it’s first-ever neighborhood-based center in the Pullman Community and it really compliments the ongoing development,” said Ciere Boatright, vice president of Real Estate and Inclusion at Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.

The Blue Door Neighborhood Center is scheduled to open in April of 2019. “I’m extremely excited to have everyone here today to be part of this renaissance and this is only the beginning of the long-lasting relationship that we are going to have with Blue Cross Blue Shield,” said Anthony Beale, Alderman of Chicago’s 9th Ward.