By: Jacqueline Hanoman—
Muncie, IN— Ross Community Center entered a new phase of its development today, when it broke ground on the construction of new sports facilities on six acres it purchased earlier this year of the former Chevy property in the Thomas Park/Avondale neighborhood of Muncie. The new sports development will include high quality youth baseball and softball fields, and other recreational facilities to engage youth, families and persons of all ages of the surrounding communities. The project hopes to engage communities and teams from all over East Central Indiana and nationwide. The sports facilities are being built in the spirit of serving as a catalyst for the revitalization of the Thomas Park/Avondale neighborhood, and the southside of Muncie.
The sports facilities project has been a few years in the making and is enthusiastically supported by its surrounding communities, city authorities including Mayor Dennis Tyler, and major funders such as the Ball Brothers Foundation for its value in creating opportunities for engaging youth through sports, improving quality of life and fostering business development in the area.
“Through this project, we are achieving our dream of being the place for people of all ages from all over the state and beyond to have the best facilities to play sports.”— Mark Flodder, President of the Board of Directors of the Ross Community Center
Megan Quirk, an attorney who, beginning in 2012, used her own resources and legal expertise to negotiate the transfer of the property from RACER Trust while also founding in 2011 and being the President of Ross Community Center Inc., states, “The Ross Center’s property acquisition is the first step in building our field of dreams. We have created and maintained a sustainable, stable Community Center that will support the nationally recognized youth baseball tournament facility we are building.”
The purchase of the former Chevy property and the funding for the first phase of construction has been made possible by a generous $600,000 grant from the Ball Brothers Foundation awarded in 2013. The Foundation has strongly supported the Ross Community Center in this effort, as well as in its programming and sustainability over the years. In October 2016, the Vectren Foundation also awarded the center a $100,000 grant, distributed over 2017 and 2018, approximately 80% of which will be going to the construction, with the remaining monies going towards programming at the center to further strengthen community engagement with people of all ages.
Working toward the objective of neighborhood revitalization, the Ross Community Center is also part of the 8-12 Coalition, which is focused on revitalizing the area between W. 8th St. and E. 12th St. (Memorial Drive), S. Perkins and S. Madison. The area was specifically chosen to bring together residents from Thomas Park/Avondale and South Central to, through identifying their assets, planning and action, advance the goals and aspirations of their community. This coalition has been formed through the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy convened by the Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity, and supported by the Vectren Foundation, Lowe’s and the Ball Brothers Foundation, among other organizations. With its present and future programming, and this new sports facility, the Ross Community Center is well on its way to achieving its vision.
Construction on the new sports facility is currently underway. The initial baseball fields are expected to be completed by July of 2017, prior to the regulation-sized soccer field and youth fields.
About the Ross Community Center
The Ross Community Center is located at 1110 W. 10th Street in Muncie. It began in 1974 as the Garfield E. Ross Recreational Center, and in 2011 became a non-profit renamed the Ross Community Center, Inc. The mission of the center is to build community by providing and promoting programs, services and activities for the advancement of education, health and wellness in its diverse community. As it builds each successive stage of its development, its vision is to be a community center that provides unique and diverse learning, wellness and athletic programs in a safe environment where people can develop life skills, grow and experience success.
Jacqueline Hanoman is Executive Director, Ross Community Center
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