LIMA — A cornerstone of life in Lima, Bradfield Community Center, kicks off its 75-year anniversary with a day of activities Saturday at the center.
“This is a free event for the community to enjoy. We’re hoping later in the year to have a more formal affair, but this is something for everybody,” said Shirel Youngblood of the program committee for the anniversary.
“Bradfield Center has always been a place that people feel safe to come to. It has been a spot where people can have access to information on health, to fellowship in a nice environment, and to come together,” Youngblood said.
And that’s exactly what Dr. Joseph Bradfield, for whom the center was named, would have appreciated. An African-American doctor, Dr. Bradfield came to Lima in 1912 and ministered not just to the physical health of the community, but also to the social needs. He met the problems of the day head-on, and educated others to do the same.
When he died in 1936 at the age of 47 years old, rumors in the community abounded that his death was caused by giving too much of himself to his friends and neighbors. So, when a community center designed for African-Americans to socialize was opened, it was named in his honor. The center was one the good doctor would have embraced as its core mission included a program of social welfare, recreation, and character building.
Tours of the building, along with informational booths on local businesses, and local vendors will be included in Saturday’s festivities. Likewise, art work by the young people that use the center will be on display, and 3-on-3 basketball tournaments will be held. There will be a craft show, church choirs and the Elite Steppers on hand to entertain.
“Bradfield is not a large facility in space, but the people feel comfortable to learn and laugh together here. And, we want to keep it just this nice to celebrate in the next 75 years,” Youngblood said.