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How once-vacant sites are becoming hubs for health equity in Michigan

November 29, 2018 (Second Wave Michigan) – In December 2008, Classic Chevrolet shuttered its location in Wyoming, just outside Grand Rapids. The huge building stood empty. But in 2012, Cherry Health transformed the dealership’s showroom and offices into spaces for medical, behavioral health, and dental clinics, later adding a vision clinic in the former service bays.

“We were looking for a site that could serve the city of Wyoming and southwestern Grand Rapids as a federally qualified health center,” says Mike Reagan, Cherry Health external relations officer. “The former Classic Chevy was centrally located, easy to access by public transit, and … gave us the potential to grow.”

The neighborhood surrounding Cherry Health’s Wyoming location includes many low-rent apartment complexes as well as modest single-family homes — an area where many displaced by housing costs in Grand Rapids’ gentrified neighborhoods are now seeking housing. In addition, much of Wyoming’s homeless population lives in tent encampments a mile or two away. The location is also convenient for people living in income-challenged neighborhoods of southwest Grand Rapids.

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