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The MLK Center needs community support to renovate building, serve more children

MLK Center
Posted at 9:59 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 21:59:05-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A community center on Indy's north side that serves as a safe place for children to learn and work needs help reaching a big goal.

The MLK Center is raising money for renovations in order to expand and upgrade their building that's currently at full capacity.

"Since 2015 we've spent more than $150,000 on maintenance. So that's money that could be paying for programming, be spent on children and after school programming, and working on our partnership with Tarkington Park, Executive Director Allison Luthe said.

The MLK Center is located at 40th and Illinois Streets in the Butler Tarkington community. The building is the former AAA Hoosier Motor Club, according to Luthe, and was built in 1962.

"The HVAC system is original to the building and it's either on or off, it's either hot or cold," she said. "We need new windows that aren't drafty, that you can't see outside in between the windows."

Luthe hopes they can receive enough donations to raise $1 Million. If they do, the United Way of Central Indiana offers matching funds up to 50% through its Capital Projects Fund, which is enabled by support from the Lilly Endowment.

"Our after school program, in one year, the number of students reading at grade level went from 22% to 55%. We know that if we were able to expand our building we could help more kids," Luthe said.

Phase one of improvements would also include adding a new welcome center that creates access from 40th Street to Tarkington Park. It would also include first floor improvements to create additional community space in the building.

MLK Center
MLK Center new welcome center

"We have an outreach and community building program and our staff are in the park every day, Luthe said. "In the summer, we have more than 100 youth that come here walk here. It's really important that we are able to be connected and stay connected."

This is a multi-year project. Luthe hopes in the future they can build onto the center and add additional space. For more information about the center and where to make a donation, visit the MLK Center website.

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