Ross Community Center’s 50th Anniversary Celebration to Include FREE Ice Cream Social

Ross Community Center. Photo providedRoss Community Center. Photo provided

By Molly Flodder—

MUNCIE, IN—Muncie’s Ross Community Center celebrates 50 years this year, and board and staff continue to capture information on the people, places and activities of the past. However, reaching out to include anyone in the greater community is part of the celebration, and they are hosting an old-fashioned community “Ice Cream Social” on June 8th to celebrate the anniversary.

“We want to invite the community—not just the Thomas Park/Avondale neighborhood–to join us for this event,” said Jacqueline Hanoman, executive director. “This Saturday, June 8, from 2-5 p.m., we will have free ice cream, various toppings, community services booths, and yard games ranging from corn hole to a timed pancake-flipping race.”

There will be door prizes as well. Funding for the event has come from area businesses, especially geographically close to the Ross Community Center at 1110 W. 10th Street, which stands just south of where the Chevrolet and Delco Battery plants were located.

One of the booths relates to the work recently completed by a Ball State University class. Students in a public history class taught by Dr. Wendy Stolz researched and created a neighborhood mapping project which can be used to do a walking tour, seeing important parts of the neighborhood as well as landmarks of the past.

“For example, most people don’t know there was a race track for horses early in the 20th century,” said Hanoman. “You can still see the curved street edges in a couple of places where the horses ran.”

Another thing the Ross Community Center is doing is collecting memories and mementos from the early years. For example, Dr. Jeff Bird, president of IU Health Ball Hospital, often played basketball at the center as a teenager as did many other local residents.

The Ross Center, named for Garland Ross (1911-1958), owner of Ross Supermarket at the corner of Hoyt and Memorial, opened in 1974 as a recreational Center. While that early purpose was important to the neighborhood, the center and its purpose have greatly changed.

In the past 15 years it has become a full-blown multigenerational center focused on education and lifelong learning, health, and wellness. The Ross Community Center displays its philosophy on lifelong learning through classes, activities, and community events on a campus including three baseball diamonds, a soccer field, and a playground.

According to Hanoman, the Ball Brothers Foundation has been the major contributor to the development of the fields and expansion of its footprint in the community. “The center’s success is due to the generosity of philanthropists and donors in the Muncie area,” said Hanoman.

Among RCCI’s services is a bi-weekly food market at which families may pick up food, including meat and fresh produce.  In addition, the center offers early childhood education, out -of-school programming, English as a second Language, Spanish classes, and music lessons, as well as sports and Judo, among many other programs.

We hope to see you soon.