City seeking bids for MLK Dream Center, construction starting soon

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It’s a dream ready to come to life.

Construction on the new MLK Dream Center is set to begin this fall, despite what it may look like.

The empty lot off Linden Avenue has had some wondering when they will start to see the beginnings of the $20 million project, but city leaders say today they are one step closer to breaking ground.

“We’re still on schedule for having everything done by the end of 2024,” assures Eric Horvath, Public Works Director for the City of South Bend.

Right now, the city is seeking bids for construction on the envisioned Dream Center at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

The large project allows for 21 different bid packages, making it an opportunity for multiple local companies and small businesses to lend a hand.

“It also allows opportunities for small business enterprises to get in and do some work, as well as minority, women, and veteran owned businesses which is really important too in this process,” Horvath explains.

While it looks like not much progress has been made, city leaders say the preparation is what takes the longest.

The center is still expected to be open in 2025, that’s a timeline neighbors surrounding the now-empty lot have been waiting to hear the last six months.

“I sat on the front porch and said, ‘What the hell are they doing?’" remembers Robert Waters, as he watched crews tear down the King Center.

Waters has lived in his home on Birdsell Street for more than 40 years. He shared memories about his time attending Linden School, which once occupied the lot, and even in recent years watching the King Center come and go.

“It was nice to look over there and remember,” Waters says.

At the ripe age of 95, he says he hopes the project stays on track so he can see the new MLK Dream Center from his porch for himself.

“You got faith in them for next year? Well then, I might see it,” hopes Waters.

The city will be seeking bids through September 19th.

Any contractors wanting to place a bid can find more information on the city's website.

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