On this page is information on the City’s efforts to transform the King Center to a Dream Center at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center is a vital part of the West Side of South Bend and supports a wide range of inter-generational programming for a wide community. The City of South Bend seeks to re-envision the building with a new facility and grounds that better serves the modern needs of the community.
MLK Center & Linden Avenue Streetscape Bid Opportunities
The City of South Bend’s construction manager, Garmong, is seeking bids through Tuesday, September 26 for construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Center. The renovated King Center will be a one-of-a-kind community center on South Bend’s west side offering a wide range of inter-generational programming and activities for all residents. It will be located at the site of the former Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center at 1522 Linden Avenue in South Bend.
Project work consists of constructing a 40,000+ square foot community center, including two basketball gyms, outbuildings, site amenities and streetscape improvements. Due to the large scope of the project, construction activities have been divided into 21 different bid packages. The City encourages all contractors to consider responding to the project bid, including those who have not previously bid on City contracts.
The opening of bids will take place at 10:15 a.m., Tuesday, September 26. Construction is scheduled to start Fall 2023.
BID DUE DATE: September 26, 2023
Please visit this page for more information and opportunities on City contract bidding.
Groundbreaking 2023 Photos
Opportunities to engage
Share your ideas
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration & Center Groundbreaking:
January 15, 2023, 1:00PM-2:30PM
Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, 1522 Linden Ave., South Bend, IN
The public is invited to take part in a celebration ceremony on Sunday, January 15 beginning at 1:00 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center (1522 Linden Ave, South Bend).
A vital part of the west side of South Bend, the MLK Community Center will be celebrating the end of an era and beginning of an entire new one when the “Dream Center” project begins construction at the end of January. Re-envisioned after 12 months of robust planning and community engagement sessions, the center will have a brand-new facility and park grounds to better serve the modern needs of the community.
To kick off this initiative, the ceremony invites the community members to a celebration as part of MLK Day beginning at 1pm with a keynote speaker, complimentary light hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Pastor Barry C Spencer will be providing a keynote address, alongside Mayor Mueller, council members and center staff will all be attendance to celebrate the groundbreaking.
“The Martin Luther King Jr. Dream Center is an important part of the West Side’s transformation and will provide critical resources to residents while bringing our community together,” said Mayor James Mueller. “After a year of building the dream through planning and community engagement sessions, I am thrilled that we are now ready to build this new Dream Center and park.”
Identified as an intergenerational resource in South Bend, the King Center project was developed by the community from a collection of public workshop sessions and is guided by the following principles: relevant & impactful, inclusive, excellent, and sustainable. To learn more about the project and its guiding principles, visit southbendin.gov/buildthedream. With the center under construction, programming has been moved to the Charles Black Community Center, located at 3419 W Washington Street, South Bend. For more information on fitness class offerings and after school programming, please visit sbvpa.org/things-to-do.
Past public meetings at the MLK Center (1522 W Linden Ave) can be viewed at the links below:
- January 10, 2022 from 6-8pm: Public Workshop Session View the PowerPoint
- February 10, 2022 from 6-8pm: Public Workshop Session
- March 10, 2022 from 6-8pm: Public Workshop Session
- April 7, 2022 from 6-8pm:
- UPDATE: The Public Celebration Presentation has been rescheduled. The April 7th meeting was an additional public input session.
- May 12, 2022 from 6-8pm: View the PowerPoint
- Celebrate the Dream: Design Concept Unveiling Celebration
- Watch the recording
In the news:
- “South Bend’s Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center kick-starting renovations”– ABC57
- “South Bend reveals design concepts for the renewed Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center” – ABC57
The guiding principles for the Build the Dream project are:
- Relevant & impactful
Read more about these guiding principles here.
Is the City changing the name of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center?
No, the name of the MLK center is not changing. “Build the Dream” is the name of the project. The name of the Center will continue to be the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.
Why is the City revitalizing the MLK Center?
From his State of the City Address on July 29th, 2021, Mayor Mueller “believes the time is right to transform the King Center to a Dream Center at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park. We can build a world-class, intergenerational community center, inspiring hope for us all. This is a concept that will be developed by the community. Resources may include small business incubation, educational opportunities, health resources, recreational activities, technological access, and creative programming. In tandem with the Dream Center’s development, we are taking intentional steps to revitalize the Linden Avenue corridor. Deeper partnerships with community organizations will be critical to the programmatic success of this new center.”
Will there be a new building or an addition to the existing building?
There will be an entirely new building constructed as part of this project. Adding on to the aging existing building, which was built in 1973, would be problematic and would likely not save any money. The new building will be built to current building codes and modern sustainability practices. We are committed to providing the community with a building with first class quality.
Will programming stop during the construction of the new building?
All current programming will be continued in other VPA facilities or through partnerships with local organizations. Details will be shared closer to the start of construction.
Will the current MLK center staff lose their positions during the construction?
All current employees will be retained and will be an integral part of continuing programming, as well as opening and running the new center.
Will the new MLK center have new fees?
The new MLK center is currently, and will continue to be, a Venues Parks & Arts community center. There will not be a price for admission and most of the programming will be free, just as it is now. Just like current operations, there will be certain camps, activities, and amenities that require fees.