SOUTH BEND – Monday marks the one-year anniversary since the Kroc Center Community Center opened in South Bend
The $70 million center operated by the Salvation Army opened with a lot of fanfare and flourish, but there’s been a learning curve in the facility’s first year.
The Kroc Center was built with the hopes of being able to provide many things for the many people who use it, uses ranging from spiritual wellbeing to fitness and sports to education and classes and even banquets, weddings and other things.
During the time it has been open, staffers have found out the reality of what they initially thought it would become has remained fluid.
“It changes all the time,” said Major Bob Webster of the Salvation Army. “What we had visioned and had planned and had thought that everything would work exactly how it was on paper. It hasn’t worked out exactly that way, but it is so exciting to see lives being transformed.”
That means since it opened, they have had to go back to the drawing board at times to let the Kroc Center be all it could be to a wide range of people.
“Lessons we have learned, we have not gotten it perfect,” Webster admitted. “We’ve made some mistakes, done some things that we wished we didn’t do, but hey, that’s how you learn, and we think we are doing very well.”
Those who come to the Kroc Center occasionally or on a regular basis say they continue to be amazed at the number of different activities, events and opportunities that are offered there all under one roof.
“So many different opportunities for the variety of ages, for my 3-year-old to my 5-year-old to my 8-year-old to my husband and I,” said Rachel Voneschenbach.
“Sunday’s our day,” Micah Caldwell said. “We come early and let the boys play basketball, they swim; they have classes here.”
When the Kroc Center first opened, some neighborhood residents complained that the fees to join were too expensive. Scholarships are still available for low-income applicants, allowing them to only have to pay half the full cost.