INDIANAPOLIS — A new business opening in the heart of Butler Tarkington will soon provide opportunities for children in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Basketball hall of famer, entrepreneur and current general manager for the Indiana Fever, Tamika Catchings is opening Tea's Me Community Cafe.
"Last year literally my sister came and grabbed me one day and said we're just going to this park and one of our friends she brought us over here," Catchings said. "We walked around the park and she said 'Ok wouldn't this be a good place for Tea's Me?'"
The cafe will open on Thursday. It's the second location for Catchings in the Circle City. The first cafe is located at 22nd and Delaware Street.
Catchings says Tarkington Park is all about kids and it brings together both of her passions, helping youth and entrepreneurship.
Since 2004, her foundation, Catch the Stars, has focused on mentoring Indianapolis kids ages seven to 18 through fitness, literacy and youth development programs.
She plans to utilize the space at the park to bring these programs to the Butler Tarkington Community in partnership with local organizations. She started the foundation after her playing days ended hoping to still be able to make an impact in the community.
"Tea's Me was the first branch out area at the 22nd St. location," Catchings said. "It allowed us to hire some of our Catch the Stars youth. It allowed us to hire high school students. We want to do the same things here but I think with the playground these kids now being able to grow up and have a staple place that one day they want to work at and be involved in being engaged with our program."
Bringing a locally owned business that offers programming and community engagement to the park is something neighbors asked for when the park was renovated several years ago.
"I can't even begin to tell you how positive this is on how many different levels," Sabae Martin said. "It's a Black-owned business it's someone that has reached levels that are typically not seen by children in the neighborhood."
Last year, the Parks Alliance of Indianapolis worked with the city of Indianapolis to establish a creative community collaboration to oversee operations, programming, and maintenance of Tarkington Park along with Midtown Indy and the MLK Community Center.
"Part of that was to bring an operator into the Tarkington Park Cafe to serve food and beverage," Jenny Cash, vice president of Parks Alliance of Indianapolis said. "With Tea's Me Community Cafe coming here they are doing that and so much more by providing programming, arts and culture, engagement, empowerment for youth all through Tea's Me's initiatives in the city as well as Tamika's Catch the Stars Foundation."
On April 3, an event called A Tourney Time Celebration will be held at the cafe and park. It will include an Easter egg hunt and a free basketball clinic as a way to introduce the cafe to the community.