Tolson Center celebrates groundbreaking on new facility
ELKHART, Ind. --- Empty courts full of rubble are what you’ll find if you take a visit to the Tolson Center. If you didn’t know any better, a quick search online will say the community staple is permanently closed.
It would have stayed that way, but residents took action.
“They fought and showed up to city council meetings. There were listening sessions from the community to understand and learn what they would like to see in a new community center," said Breanna Allen, Executive Director for the Tolson Center.
Their voices led to a groundbreaking ceremony kicking off an expansion project to open the doors of the historical center once again.
“We expect and are planning for Tolson to be a community hub. By that, we want people of all ages to be able to come and find something for them to do. We’re not intending to do it alone," said Nekeisha Alayna-Alexis, a board member for the center.
Through partnerships with organizations like Oaklawn and Real Services the center plans to offer access to programs focusing on mental health and college readiness.
Little ones will also have opportunities to get in touch with their creative side.
“There will be outlets for dance, we’re gonna have a dance room. There’ll be outlets for art, you know music and the kids love TikTok and Snapchat and so we want to create spaces where they can capture you know their videos," said Allen.
This is what the center is expected to look like once its complete — which residents say they can’t wait to have access to again for many years.
“I think that’s really important for later on in the future to have the youth come in as well and be busy in their own city and have something to do that is actually good for them," said Brenda Balcazargoroscieta, an Elkhart resident.
The center is expected to open late fall 2023.