TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A long-awaited project in the city's Southside neighborhood opened its doors Thursday.
A group of older buildings previously lined the site on South Monroe Street by Magnolia Drive. Crews broke ground in September 2016, and the project took about a year as expected.
The center is teaming up with Bond Community Health Center, FSU College of Medicine, and the Apalachee Center among other partners to provide care.
Care Point is the vision of Big Bend Cares, which is based across the street. Vice president Dan Taylor says Care Point is all about convenience.
"We are trying to minimize our patients' travel around town," he said. "If you come here and see a physician and need lab work, we've got the lab right here. We've got the pharmacy upstairs, so we're trying to make a 'one stop shop.' So, we cover everything right here."
Care Point includes family medicine, dentistry, laboratory services, mental health, radiology, 10 exam rooms and a pharmacy -- all in one location.
"We're covering all the bases," Taylor said. "We take insured folks. We take uninsured folks. It's a family medical clinic for our community -- for the community we live in, for downtown employees, for everybody."
The presence of Care Point isn't welcomed by a small group of residents. Two of them protested outside the center Thursday evening, wanting to draw attention to issues with funding, construction and the services offered at the center.
The Southside United Citizens Action Alliance says the facility was approved for funding by the CRA board against the recommendation of the Frenchtown-Southside Citizens Advisory Committee. The group also claims there were environmental dangers as crews worked on the project.
The Florida Department of Environment Protection investigated the claim and determined the site met all requirements.
The CRA provided a $1.5 million grant, but the purpose of the money was solely for construction, despite claims by critics who argued the money was being used to support Care Point's operation.
Existing patients of Big Bend Cares started receiving services with Care Point Friday. The center will accept new patients starting December 1.
Care Point will host a community open house on Saturday, November 4 to give residents a better idea of what the center offers.