A $10 million gift from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation will help fund operations of Merrillville’s new community center. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the $24 million facility has been named the Dean and Barbara White Community Center as a result of the gift.
The Merrillville Town Council announced the massive gift earlier this week, which the city will receive in $2 million increments over the next five years. According to Councilman Shawn Pettit, the funds will be administered through the Legacy Foundation.
“Through the foundation’s generosity, the Dean and Barbara White Community Center will be able to impact the lives of all Merrillville residents, young and old, for generations to come,” Council President Rick Bella said. “To have this type of a bright spot coming now is just a real shot in the arm for us. It’s going to help us move the community center forward in a very positive way and we can’t thank the White foundation enough.”
According to The Times, Pettit described the donation as “probably one of the most important if not the most important item that the town of Merrillville has ever experienced in its 50 year history.”
Construction continues on the 95,000-square-foot building, and the publication reports the building remains on pace to open March 1.
“The foundation is proud to honor Dean and Barbara’s legacy by providing the lead gift to the Merrillville Community Center,” said Pettit. “It is their hope that this center enhances the quality of life for the town’s citizens and serves as a gathering place for people of all ages to engage, learn and improve their physical and emotional health.”
The publication says the center will feature a multipurpose community room that has space available to rent for events, meetings and other activities.