Mount Zion Baptist church saves Dunbar Community center

They plan to expand the arts, wellness and educational programs offered at the center

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Mason Square Community Center that has been a landmark for over 100 years, will continue serving residents, after facing financial issues.

Springfield’s Mount Zion Baptist church heard the Dunbar Community center’s prayers and answered them with a $705,000 check.

“They’re doing a good thing and god will bless them,” said lifelong resident Robert Pitts Jr.

The Dunbar Community Center is now owned by Springfield’s Mount Zion Baptist Church. The center has been a staple in the Mason Square community for more than 100 years, but their future was in jeopardy, after facing foreclosure.

Part of the church’s mission is community involvement, so when they heard about the financial issues the Dunbar community center was having, they stepped in and paid $705,000 to save it.

Deacon Steve Powell of Mount Zion Baptist Church told 22News, “Various members have an allegiance to the center. They grew up in the center. At the same time, it’s part of the community and we didn’t want the center to go into foreclosure, so we stepped in.”

So the church took over the mortgage debt. Deacon Powell told 22News, the church was looking to expand and invest in property, so purchasing the community center, aligned with the church’s vision.

Pitts told 22News, some of his best memories were at the Dunbar community center.

“When my father coached basketball here, they were the first black team to have the daily news tournament that won here. His friends, my friends and the other youth. It saved a lot of our lives,” said Pitts.

Mount Zion told 22News, as the new owners of the Dunbar community center, they plan to expand the arts, wellness and educational programs offered at the center.