Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New facilities will help St. Petersburg Free Clinic grow

Workers move food at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s loading dock May 3. A Lealman warehouse will host the new food bank.

LARA CERRI | Times

Workers move food at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s loading dock May 3. A Lealman warehouse will host the new food bank.

ST. PETERSBURG — For decades, the bustling St. Petersburg Free Clinic has operated largely out of an old post office building.

That will soon change.

The clinic recently bought two buildings in Pinellas County, said executive director Beth Houghton. One will house its growing health center, which provides free medical services for low-income people who are uninsured. The other will house its expanded food bank.

The new facilities will help the nonprofit carry out its mission of providing basic services to those in need, Houghton said. That's especially true for its disease management programs, which have grown in recent years.

"We want to be more than a place people go when they are sick," she said. "We want to be a place that helps people be well. That takes space."

The project is "beyond important," said St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin.

"Food insecurity is one of the leading social determinants of health in our community," she said. "It affects every age, race, neighborhood. . . . This expansion of their capacity is going to make a significant difference in the health care landscape in St. Petersburg."

Currently, the clinic's health center, food bank, food pantry and administrative offices are at 863 Third Ave N. (It also runs three shelters at different locations.) The cramped first-floor space is less than ideal for a health center, Houghton said. Space for patient consultations is limited.

The center provided 13,000 services last year, ranging from wellness screenings to more specialized care.

Earlier this year, with the help of a gift from retired business executive David Baldwin, the clinic bought a 7,000-square-foot building at 5501 Fourth St. N in St. Petersburg for $1.6 million.

The plan: to move the entire health center there this summer.

Transforming the space shouldn't be difficult.

"It was designed as a clinic space," Houghton said of the facility, which used to be a medical practice. "It will give patients privacy and be functional for nurses and staff."

After the move, the clinic plans to add dermatology to its offerings. It will also expand its wound care, chiropractic care, acupuncture and physical therapy services, as well as its diabetes and cardiovascular disease management programs.

The clinic is also in the process of expanding its food bank into a 14,000-square-foot warehouse at 3115 44th Ave. N in Lealman. The volume of food has jumped from 1.6 million pounds to 3.5 million pounds in the last seven years, Houghton said.

The clinic bought the building for $820,000 in 2016 and has begun renovations. The purchase was made possible by a gift from St. Petersburg businesswoman Bonnie Hechtkopf. The building will be called the Jared S. Hechtkopf Community Food Bank in memory of her late husband.

The clinic will continue to occupy its existing building. The downtown facility will be used to grow the We Help program, which provides emergency assistance to people in need.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at kmcgrory@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

New facilities will help St. Petersburg Free Clinic grow 05/17/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1.   Jake Faria has pitched 6-1/3 innings and has allowed one run in each of this first three starts.
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  5. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.