We're not a hospital. We're not a convalescent home. We're not a pre-school or daycare facility. But the property now known as the Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center, Inc. has been all of those things to Springfield residents, spanning back nearly 100 years.
Read on below to learn more about who we are and what we're working to do in our community...
In late summer 2002, a group of citizens and community leaders began meeting to discuss concerns about a property located at 918 E. Calhoun. The site, most recently known as Kiddie Kove Daycare, had fallen into disuse and deteriorating conditions since that organization ceased activities, several years earlier.
In doing their due diligence, the group discovered that the property had been a hospital, convalescent home, and daycare center serving the black community in Springfield for nearly 100 years. They also realized that the property was still "owned" by the Springfield Colored Welfare Association (a group long defunct).
It was then decided that the property should continue to serve the community and that a new organization would be formed to extend the legacy begun by the Association. Thus, the Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center, Inc. (BDNC) was born. Named for the late Mrs. Roberta Bartley (founder of Kiddie Kove Daycare) and her sister, the late Mrs. Olive Decatur, who were both public school teachers and very active in the life of the black community, the new organization acquired title to the property and began plans for its revitalization.
With the help of Missouri's senior U.S. senator, Christopher (Kit) Bond, BDNC was awarded a grant through the Department of Housing and Urban Development for $500,000 to reconstruct and revitalize the property. This has now been done and the Center will open to the public in the fall of 2011
Although BDNC is, on the one hand, a property on Calhoun Street, it is intended to be much more than just a building. Our motto is "Building Dreams, Nurturing Community" and that is what the future holds for us as we participate, cooperate, and collaborate with individuals, agencies, and other community based organizations for the benefit of Springfield residents.
We look forward to working with and serving you!
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE about BDNC by amateur historian, Norma S. Duncan in this reprint of the Midtown Neighborhood Association's newsletter. -- (Scroll down to page number 3)