INDIANAPOLIS – A major expansion plan is in the works for the Martin Luther King Community Center at 40th and Illinois.

Exactly how and where the expansion of the community center will be built is still up in the air and officials are asking for the public’s feedback before they break ground.

“We’re just busting at the seams, and so this is a neighborhood destination, it’s a cultural community center and we need more space for everyone,” said MLK Community Center Executive Director Allison Luthe.

Luthe says the MLK Center has plans to add more than 40,000 square feet to the current building.

The $15 million project hopes to add: 

  • An additional classroom
  • A multi-purpose space
  • A fitness center with a walking track 
  • A gym

“Right now, we are turning away more families than ever because we have a waiting list, so we’re turning away a lot of families who want and need our services. We need more space,” said Luthe.

Officials with the MLK Community Center haven’t decided if they’ll expand north to the parking lot or use the open space on the west side of the building. They have four to five designs they’re choosing between and hope the public input will help them decide.  

But it’s teens who rely on the services at MLK that are already giving their feedback.

All of them who spoke to FOX59/CBS4 are in favor of expanding the place they call a second home.  

“The MLK center has really helped me, especially my family,” said Xaviour Akpan. “There’s been times they’ve gone out of their way to help me with like housing and family problems when I’ve been struggling. They’ve always been there. Especially emotionally too. It’s just always a place I know I can count on. They always got my back.”

“MLK is the neighborhood really,” said Dahwee Jackson. “That’s in my eyes. So when I talk about the neighborhood really, I come here, I obviously play basketball at the park, but here is where my life actually started to grow.”

Officials hope to have the plan picked by the end of the year and break ground sometime in 2024.

Anyone interested in providing feedback can visit the community open house on Thursday, Sept. 7, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the MLK Community Center at 40th And Illinois.  

If you can’t make Thursday’s open house, you can click here to give your feedback.