Future of Elkhart's Tolson Center could be jeopardized

NOW: Future of Elkhart’s Tolson Center could be jeopardized

ELKHART, Ind.- Elkhart’s Tolson Center could be at risk and right now the community is speaking up on why this center should stay as it is.
The decision will come at Tuesday’s city council meeting, but already community members are sparking up conversation.

Earlier, one community member tells ABC57 the Tolson Center runs the risk of not being funded by the city meaning it could eventually be run by someone else.

“It’s a faith based program that they’re trying to lease the building to and right there you have an issue,” says Robert Taylor, a concerned Elkhart neighbor. “What if I don’t have a certain religion how does that work?”

Taylor says defunding the Tolson Center is a concern for him and the entire south side of Elkhart. “The city is trying to basically give the building away, where do the kids go?”

According to Taylor almost 300 children go through this center every day and in the last five years, 50 have made it to college.
“The Tolson Center is a safe haven for a lot of kids in the community,” he says.

Taylor adds six months ago Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese made a promise to these families about the Tolson Center.

“He guaranteed us, the people of the community, the Tolson Center would be around,” says Taylor. “It’s kind of puzzling to now find out that they’re trying to lease the building to someone with a faith based background.”

The Tolson Center offers programs to the youth in hopes of keeping them away from trouble; that’s why Taylor says this facility plays a vital role in keeping Elkhart safe.

“The mayor made a promise that this was going to happen so we’ll see if he keeps his promise,” adds Taylor.

“I have had six kids that have gone through the Tolson Center now it’s time for my grandchildren to come through the Tolson Center.”

The mayor’s office says Mayor Neese will make a statement at the meeting and wasn’t available beforehand.

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