Six years after it opened, a Cedar Rapids nonprofit is celebrating a new space and a continuing mission to revitalize neighborhoods devastated in the 2008 flood.
Matthew 25 Ministry Hub moved into 201 Third Ave. SW about two weeks ago. The nonprofit recently completed the purchase of the former Acme Graphic building from the City of Cedar Rapids.
The new space offers expanded opportunities for a number of Matthew 25 initiatives. Building renovations are planned to build out space for Groundswell, a youth arts venue, as well as for a tool library. The building will also have a space to wash and distribute produce from Cultivate Hope, the nonprofit’s urban gardening program, as well as expanded space for the Iowa Valley Food Cooperative.
“This represents a deep, long term investment in the west side,” Matthew 25 director Clint Twedt-Ball said. “We’re going to continue to be here to help bring these neighborhoods back for a long time.”
The design for the Groundswell space will be directed by a youth leadership team, he said. The students will work with architects on the design process, from the colors and lighting, to how the stage should be designed, thinking about how they want the space to feel.
Even as the nonprofit continues to grow, it is saying goodbye to another director, Courtney Ball, who is leaving to pursue a career in writing. He and Twedt-Ball are brothers who founded the nonprofit in 2007 with a commitment to serving the Taylor and Time Check neighborhoods.
The organization, which has eight employees and hundreds of volunteers, operates in three major program areas: neighborhood building, including the rehabilitation of homes, the building of new homes, and a tool lending library; an urban farm and multiple school gardens; and youth empowerment, including Book Buddies, a program to foster reading skills, and Groundswell.
Twedt-Ball said the chance to help restore a historic building fits in well with the organization’s mission.
“I think it’s important as we move forward to hold on to our heritage while we develop for the future,” he said.
He said watching the westside redevelop after the flood has been rewarding.“Being part of Kingston Village as it comes back has been exciting,” he said. “We’re seeing other neighbors talking about their plans for the future. It’s just exciting to be part of them, part of the mix of a place that’s on the move.”