INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Community leaders on the near east side are hoping a new business brings another step toward revitalization.
Thursday morning, a cafe inside the John H. Boner Community Center officially opens its doors. It may not sound like a big deal, but many say this is helping an area that needs a lot of attention.
"It's just been really positive to see the communities work together to help change the community," said Jeff Reuter, owner of the J.S. Reutz Cafe.
Fresh fruit, a meatloaf lunch special, and a crowd to boot welcome the J.S. Reutz Cafe. Although it opened on Monday, Thursday is the official grand opening. Located inside the John H. Boner Community Center, it's a place where workers and near east side residents can grab a bite to eat.
"I feel that really to change the entire east side, we have to start somewhere, and this is a good opportunity, and it can really, I feel, change the entire east side," said Reuter.
Reuter lives on the near east side, and worked with the East 10th Street Civic Association to choose his cafe spot for on-going re-vitalization efforts. He's also employing three people who came to the Boner Center for help.
"The way to make change happen is to make change happen," Reuter said.
Along with the cafe, the Boner Center is also working to buy an apartment building across the street and provide housing for people who want to own their home, but they just don't know how to do it.
The Civic Association also planted a garden two years ago on East 10th and Rural as a way to spruce up the community.
It's been a lot of work for people who admit it's frustrating at times, but at the end of the day, very much worth it.
"I won't mislead you and say that there are not days that all of us working here on the near east side, and specifically in community development, do not have those moments if you will. I think the experiences that make the difference would be us here today with the celebration of this opening of the J.S. Reutz Cafe," said Tammi Hughes with the Civic Association.
The cafe officially opens at 10 a.m. The Boner Center helps in a variety of ways by helping people find jobs and job training, and places to live.