Hamilton Heights | St. Louis Public Radio

Hamilton Heights

Physician Sonny Saggar, left, nurse practitioner Michael Zappulla discuss the day's plans at North City Urgent Care, one of two urgent care clinics in north St. Louis.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

One of the only urgent-care centers on St. Louis’ medically underserved north side is in danger of closing if it doesn’t receive more patients.

North City Urgent Care opened five years ago near North Skinker Parkway and Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Since then, the center hasn’t posted a profit, owner Sonny Saggar said.

Although there are only two urgent-care clinics in north St. Louis, patient volume is low, Saggar said. On a typical day, there is only a handful of patients — far fewer than the 25 patients a day needed to turn a profit, he said.

“It’s a double-edged sword to have no competition on the north side but also limited awareness,” Saggar said. “I don’t think it’s because there’s not enough people; I think it’s because they’re not aware.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, as seen from atop the old  J.C. Penney building between Hamilton and Hodiamont Avenues.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This is the first of three reports looking at the history, present and future of Martin Luther King Drive.

Today is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Had he lived, he’d be 87 years old. About four years after the shooting death of King in Memphis in 1968, two contiguous north St. Louis streets were renamed in his honor and his memory.

This renaming followed a by-then well-established practice in the United States — one that eventually spread abroad. St. Louis wasn’t the first or the last to join this tradition. The first street named for King was South Park Way in Chicago; that memorial was initiated about four months after his death.