RobyLane Kelley (& Georgia)
Editorial Intern

Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center (SURHC) celebrated its pediatric wing ribbon cutting  and Samuel Rodgers Place grand opening June 6 at 2100 E. Ninth St.

Dr. Samuel U. Rodgers first opened what would be known today as the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in 1968. The clinic was the first federally-recognized community health center in the the state of Missouri. According to his biography on the center website, it was important to Rodgers to have a community health center in the heart of his city to serve families.

 “Dr. Rodgers believed families deserve access to everything they need to thrive,” according to its website. “That’s why he chose to open his health center at the Wayne Miner Housing Project, so families got the care they needed right in their neighborhood.”

The opening of Samuel Rodgers Place brings Rodgers’ original vision for the facilities to fruition. The new addition, in the form of mixed income housing in the heart of the historic Northeast neighborhood, will provide centralized apartments and townhomes between transportation and health care facilities. The complex is also located near Kansas City University, Aldi and Woodland Early Childhood Center.

The development of Samuel Rodgers Place was completed with the help of Brinshore, a private public real estate company that focuses on affordability and sustainability. Other Brinshore developments in Northeast include Pendleton Arts Block and Pendleton Flats.

During his speech, Representative Emanuel Cleaver said the Choice Neighborhood Grant helped fund this project, but it is not a resource that is easy to come by.

 “There are cities all over the country right now who would love to have an opportunity to sit in a room like this and celebrate what’s happening,” Cleaver said. “They lack affordable housing … and we got to address it.”

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Missouri is ranked the sixth lowest state for cost of living. However, in the data available for the first quarter of 2024 Kansas City ranked the highest of participating Missouri cities in housing.

 Executive Vice President of Brinshore, Todd Lieberman said in his speech SURHC staff involvement has given the housing complex an opportunity to bring more to the community.

 “The people who needed access to healthcare would have an opportunity to be next door and receive services from Sam Rodgers,” Lieberman said. “Sam Rodgers is not only a health center next door, but also providing supportive services to the residential community.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas, who previously created the Housing Trust Fund in Kansas City, was in attendance and gave a speech in which he reflected on the importance of health care as he prepares to welcome his new child. 

“You realize how important outstanding health care, outstanding access, is to communities,” Lucas said. “I am so elated with our partners at Samuel Rodgers. With healthcare, housing, transportation, all the things that we should be doing in Kansas City are being done right, this neighborhood and right here.”

This pediatric center will provide women, iInfants and children (WIC), behavioral health and dental services. Hygienists and dental facility staff will provide children with dental screenings and referrals to SURHC’s dental clinic, according to Brinshore Development.

This project was funded by Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, National Housing Trust Funds and fund balance loans, Tax credit equity from the Richman Group and Sugar Creek Capital and the Choice Neighborhood Grant.