Bolivar NeighborHub hopes to connect residents and resources
By KATE COIL
TML Communications Specialist
A new centralized location for community resources is aiming to connect Bolivar residents with the help they need.
Bolivar Mayor Julian McTizic said the resource center, known as The NeighborHub, has been a vision of his since he was first elected in 2017.
“When I was first elected, we had a lot of nonprofits that were asking for donations or meeting space in city buildings, but we didn’t have enough to accommodate everyone,” McTizic said. “If you give a donation to one group, it’s hard to not give it to another. The barrier is getting people who need help to where that help is. We had one particular family who needed help, but it took quite a bit for me to facilitate. I thought if I’m having this much trouble, how hard must it be for someone who is not the mayor to get these resources and help.”
To better connect the community to needed resources, the NeighborHub will bring together all local nonprofits in a one-stop shop setting. In addition to helping residents in need, the hope is the facility will help connect local groups with each other and provide a place for volunteers to give time and money.
“It’s called the NeighborHub because it’s neighbors helping neighbors,” McTizic said. “We want one centralized location to connect people. Also, for those who want to help, you can make a gift to this organization in the neighborhood and know it is going to help people in the area. We have a lot of entities that didn’t know the next group did this service. By putting them together, they can all help.”
When a building that formerly housed the county literacy council reverted back to ownership of the city, McTizic said leaders decided to convert the structure into one that would support organizations benefitting the community.
“We are using that building to house them where they will have their own private, individual space as well as spaces they will share such as meeting rooms, computer labs, and restrooms,” he said. “We have been in conversations with non-profit entities that provide assistance with domestic violence, family counseling, anger management, as well as our local food bank.”
Initially, the funding for the project was going to come from an optional choice for residents to add an extra dollar to their utility bills. However, ARPA funds became available to finance the project and buy-in from the Southwest Human Resource Agency (SHRA) helped move the project forward. SHRA will also be one of the organizations providing services in the building, providing resources like utility assistance, transportation, internet access, employment assistance, senior services, and more.
The building is being renovated to suit its new purpose. McTizic said the structure has been taken back to its shell and renovated to include individual spaces for each organization, a new HVAC unit, new flooring, and other cosmetic improvements. The renovation is expected to cost around $75,000 to $100,000.
The building will have space to house every active non-profit in the Bolivar area with a green space for outdoor activities as well as space for expansion in the future.
McTizic said there is excitement in the community about the potential for the project.
“A lot of communities are dealing with the same problems,” McTizic said. “A big city may have 500 homeless people, and we may have five. We all work on our problems better together. By bringing resources and labor together, you can help your neighbors.”