BLOOMINGTON — A community center intended to be a "safe space for all neighbors to gather, grow and build relationships" is opening in northwest Bloomington.

The Northwest Neighborhood Community Center (NNCC) at 400 W. Union St. will open Sept. 16 with a ceremony and block party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a ribbon cutting at 11:45 a.m. 

The 30,000-square-foot, not-for-profit center is located in Crosswinds Community Church's former educational wing.

NNCC is a faith-based organization, but "we want it to be a space that everybody — no matter your background, age, race, religion, gender or socioeconomic status — is welcome and feels comfortable," said Director Sarah Tunall.

"Our mission and goal for creating a community center are to create a safe space for all neighbors to gather, grow and build relationships," she said. 

The center has a computer lab, and areas for learning, exercise, gathering and community meals.

The center will offer both faith-based and secular enrichment programs for children and adults.

They include an academic reading program for children in third through fifth grades, and tutoring and mentoring programs for junior high and high schools students. A $5 per semester fee is requested for elementary students, but there is no fee for the older students.

Counseling services at low cost will be available for people of all ages. Computer skill and job training workshops, neighborhood meals, and creative healing through art and creative expression are some of the center's other programs.

Tunall describes the neighborhood as bounded by Division Street on the north, Locust Street on the south, Center Street on the east and railroad tracks to the west.

"Crosswinds has been in the neighborhood for eight years and has always felt that there is a need in the neighborhood for a place for community, a place for resources," said Tunall, who graduated with a master of divinity degree in 2014 from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J. 

"As we have gotten to know neighbors, we've realized that neighbors don't know each other," she added. "It's an extremely diverse neighborhood economically and racially and age-wise. This is opportunity for bringing people together."

Follow Maria Nagle on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle

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