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United Way of SJC break ground on Southeast Neighborhood Center in South Bend

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 5:46 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - For the first time on South Bend Southeast Side, they will have a hub they can soon call home.

“I think I can confidently say this is the best attended groundbreaking I’ve ever been to,” South Bend Mayor James Mueller said at Tuesday’s event, happening on the corner of Fellows St. and Dubail Avenue.

Familiar faces including Mayor Mueller, fellow council members like Sharon McBride, and dozens of South Bends School students filed into the groundbreaking ceremony of what will soon be known as the Southeast Neighborhood Center.

“We started this conversation back in 2018, with this vision of bringing together healthcare, childcare, rotating social services to help the community. It’s been done in other places around the country, but never here locally,” United Way of St. Joseph County President & CEO Laura Jensen says.

It’s a place that Jensen says will serve as a community resource focusing on education, youth and community development, while bringing new resources to fight against poverty.

“When you look at this city now, we are the hub that is going to make the difference throughout this city to show if we come together and unite as a city, crime can go down, education can be lifted, neighborhoods can be safe. We all work together to make a difference,” local pastor Rickardo Taylor told residents.

A difference that Jenson says will go a long way.

“It’s been a long almost two years that we have been inside and separate and distanced. To bring everyone engaged in meaningful ways, and to really light up this neighborhood morning, noon, and night is huge,” Jenson says.

The Southeast Neighborhood Center is expected to be completed by July 2022, with the idea of replicating buildings just like it all throughout South Bend in the future.

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