After 85 years, Bradfield Center a Lima fixture

LIMA — When it comes to organizations that promote a sense of community in Lima, the Bradfield Community Center has long had a place of prominence in that group, being a Lima fixture for more than 85 years.

With a mission to “provide social, educational, health and recreational programs that address the needs of the Lima community,” according to the center’s website, the Bradfield Center has long been a haven for young and old alike on the corner of Collett Street and North Shore Drive.

Named after World War I veteran and longtime Lima physician Dr. Joseph Cyrus Bradfield, the center first started in 1938 at 321 S. West St., offering a place for Lima’s Black community to find recreational programs and other activities they could not access at other facilities. Increased demand for services prompted the move to Collett Street in 1949.

In the years since its opening, the Bradfield Center has hosted a variety of athletic training events and tournaments, including basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and more, according to to the center’s website. It has also hosted such diverse events as health and wellness activities for seniors, child care services and computer literacy training. During the COVID pandemic, the center also served as a hub for access to vaccines.

Bradfield executive director Chris Jackson wants to see the community center continue to meet the needs of the Lima community amid changing times.

“One thing we’ve looked at is industry, as industry is big here,” he said. “I know the city schools are building a tech building for the high school, but we thought we’d like to do that same thing and get a tech building for the younger kids that are going through our program. We’d like to get them thinking maybe at a junior high age about this because not everyone’s made for college.”

Jackson has also prioritized updating and modernizing the Collett Street facility, with recent updates including a rebuilt outdoor basketball court and the installation of a new heating and air conditioning system in the building. Jackson’s vision, he said, is to make the Bradfield Center a true hub for the entire community, bringing all ethnicities and ages together under one roof.

“Everyone that’s part of the Bradfield community is honored that Dr. Bradfield had the insight to start this, and our job is to carry on that legacy,” he said. “The thing that has changed is that this is not just for the African American community, but it’s for the community as a whole, so our job is to make sure that everybody feels comfortable and that we have everyone from young to old, Black to white like a crayon box where everyone’s in there making beautiful art together.”

To learn more about programs and services at the Bradfield Community Center, go to or call 419-229-2485.


Many businesses and organizations started right here in the Lima region, with the goal of making an impact in the region. This year’s Celebrating Our Spirit looks at those trailblazers. Read more stories at