Children play in the gym inside the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center on July 30 in South Bend. Staff file photo by Robert Franklin
Children play in the gym inside the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center on July 30 in South Bend. Staff file photo by Robert Franklin
SOUTH BEND — A health clinic? Business incubator? Swimming pool? Laundromat? Senior center?

Residents of South Bend’s west side have many dreams for what they would like to see added to the city’s Martin Luther King Center on Linden Avenue. The city administration Tuesday will launch an effort to see which of those dreams can become reality in what Mayor James Mueller has dubbed the “Dream Center” project, a plan he first mentioned in his annual State of the City address in July.

At its meeting Tuesday morning, the city’s Board of Public Works was scheduled to vote on whether to hire Indianapolis-based Meticulous Design + Architecture, at a cost of $178,000, for “pre-design services, programming and community engagement” for the project.

The firm, if hired, will come to South Bend for at least six yet-to-be-scheduled public meetings to gather input on what residents want to see added to the center. The city has budgeted $11.1 million in American Rescue Plan money for the project and also has applied for a $3.6 million grant from the state of Indiana’s Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative (READI). The Indiana Economic Development Corp. will announce its grant winners in mid-December.

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If the city wins the state grant, it will either reduce the ARP spending by that amount or increase the project’s scope, depending on how the public input and design process goes, said Mueller spokesman Caleb Bauer. The grants will be competitive. Gov. Eric Holcomb last month announced that the state has budgeted $500 million but received about $1 billion in requests from around the state.

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