A nonprofit organization’s plan to bring a $2.5 million community center to Brighton Park has gotten a big boost from state funding.
The Brighton Park Neighborhood Council said the new center will serve as a much needed hub in the community providing violence prevention, financial services and youth programs.
Executive Director Patrick Brosnan said it’s been a difficult road to making this center a real thing. The nonprofit bought the run-down building at 4000 S. Archer Ave. nearly 10 years ago and it has remained a distant dream.
The group started the planning process but because of several years of a state budget impasse the “funds got frozen and we weren’t able to continue,” Brosnan said.
The project relies heavily on state money. Despite the nearly $2 million it will receive under the new capital budget, it remains $500,000 shy of the development’s projected cost.
“We are still working on securing additional funds, and hopefully there is some movement on that,” Brosnan said. “This is not over, we still have a lot of work to do and plan this with the community.”
Brosnan said they plan on hiring people from Brighton Park to construct the new center and hopes the facility will be opened by 2021.
“It’s not only about the brick and mortar but about the programs that we need to fill this space,” Brosnan said. “We need resources for after school here, we need youth and violence prevention resources.”
Juan Moreno — the architect behind Gads Hill Center’s $7 million project just blocks away — is leading the design for the new center.
Like the Gads Hill Center, Moreno said, his design won’t require a complete demolition of the building, which used to be a car window replacement shop.
“The infrastructure of old buildings are quite beautiful and they might need some TLC, but the guts in the building remains,” Moreno said. “It’s really about starting a new conversation on the outside.”
“We are creating a new identity on the outside that is one of vibrance, showing the positivity and celebrating what they do is really the goal.”
Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.