Member News

Ten-person team now meeting to discuss potential next steps for Tolson Center

Friday, July 27, 2018

The ten people who have agreed to join a community group exploring potential uses for Tolson Center have begun their work.

The Community Foundation of Elkhart County and the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce formed a ten-person committee to look at the best future use of the Tolson Center, which closed this summer after a majority of the Elkhart City Council voted not to continue funding through the end of the year. The city of Elkhart has operated Tolson for 25 years, primarily as a youth center.

Pete McCown, president of the Community Foundation, and Levon Johnson, Chamber president, are co-chairing the community conversation. Others on the group are Isaac Torres, Amish Shah, Clarence Thomas, Krista Hennings, Cindy Lopez Bonner, Rick Newbill, Eric Ivory and Jill Sigsbee. Members of the committee represent both organizations as well as other non-profits and neighborhoods that could be impacted by Tolson’s closing.

The group has met two times and started planning how it will seek the input of dozens of community organizations on how Tolson could best serve the community. “We have identified a wide variety of individuals and groups we need to hear from. We may create focus groups and are also planning events at which others who are interested in shaping the future of Elkhart can tell us how Tolson should be part of that,” said Johnson.

The group plans to examine all potential uses for the city property to meet needs in the community, particularly for youth and senior citizens. It hopes to make a recommendation to the City Council and Mayor Tim Neese on findings and potential uses by October.

“Gathering this group is a way of continuing to look for the best for our community and the city of Elkhart,” McCown said. “The Community Foundation of Elkhart County and Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce hope that we can inspire good and continue to find ways to invest in our community so that it can thrive.”


Contact to arrange interviews with committee leaders or members:
Justine Lightfoot, director of marketing and communications for Community Foundation of Elkhart County, 574-295-8761 or

About Community Foundation of Elkhart County
Community Foundation of Elkhart County partners with donors to leverage their philanthropy in ways that transform lives. Since 1989, the Community Foundation has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by providing scholarship opportunities to local students and making grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve Elkhart County. The Community Foundation strives to be a local entity known for inspiring good and impacting success.

To learn more, go to

About Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce represents and serves member businesses and the community. We will promote the interests of members and the community in the areas of business, government, education and their professions through direction and leadership of investors and the Chamber staff.

To learn more, go to

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