November 1, 2022

Reed, Whitehouse, Cicilline Join Mayor Rivera to Help Unveil Plans for New Community Center Coming to Central Falls

Reed, Whitehouse, and Cicilline secured $2 Million earmark for new ‘El Centro’

CENTRAL FALLS, RI – Plans for the new El Centro community center in Central Falls are moving along.

Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline joined Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera and local community leaders to announce new federal funding to bring a full-service community center to Central Falls.

Central Falls has been without a community center since the old Ralph J. Holden Community Center was shuttered in 2011.

The new city-run center, to be known as El Centro of Central Falls, will be located at 702 Broad Street, in a former church property operated as the Ministerio Guerreros De Cristo church.

Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Cicilline jointly secured a $2 million federal earmark in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations law to build a new community center in Central Falls.  They also helped deliver $705,000 in federal funding for the project from the American Rescue Plan Act and another $1 million in federal funds that was allocated through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.  The residents of Central Falls also approved a $1 million bond to help finance the project and the city is raising contributions from non-profits and the private sector, such as a $100,000 pledge from Navigant Credit Union.

The future full-service community center will offer a hub of community activity.  The project aims to provide a new intergenerational community space, which will include flexibles space for a senior center, fitness facilities, large community hall with kitchen, teen room, meeting rooms, and classrooms.

“It’s exciting to see this new community center taking shape and I’m pleased we were able to deliver over $3.7 million in federal funding toward the project.  It’s important to have a place where people can come together, feel at home, and be connected to opportunities for recreation and wellness.  This new facility will help continue neighborhood revitalization, guided by residents and supported by the city and local business and community partners.  I commend Mayor Rivera for her vision, determination, and hard work to redevelop this site into a community asset that helps people access a variety of opportunities,” said Senator Reed.

“Central Falls has been without a community center for far too long, and I’m very pleased the delegation was able to secure federal funding to help make El Centro a reality,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Congratulations to Mayor Rivera, who never stops fighting for her city and never stops working to create opportunities for the residents of Central Falls.”

“Central Falls is a vibrant, tightly knit, and densely populated city whose residents and leaders have advocated for a new community center for years,” said Congressman Cicilline. “This investment directly responds to the needs of Central Falls, and I was proud to help secure federal funding for the project.  The multigenerational facility will serve as a one-stop, centralized resource, connecting residents with the health, mental health, wellness, fitness, and other wraparound supports they deserve.”

“I want to thank Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Cicilline for securing this funding for El Centro,” said Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera. “It’s exciting to see progress toward making the vision of El Centro a reality for the people of Central Falls.”

“The importance of a centralized hub of health services for the people of Central Falls simply cannot be understated,” said Margaret Holland McDuff, CEO at Family Service of Rhode Island. “This community has consistently risen to address economic challenges, persistent pandemic concerns, newcomer integration and more.  But we’ve all long-known the minority-majority residents of Central Falls need a better approach. By addressing housing, hunger, behavioral health, and human services—all under one roof, El Centro promises access to a system of care that will be low-barrier and full-services. It will serve as a model for other communities across Rhode Island.”

Lerner Ladds Bartel, LLC has been selected as architects for the site. 

Renovations and construction of the center will follow additional community engagement on the design, budgeting, and construction of the new center.

Chip Unruh (Reed) 202-224-4642

Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), 401-453-5294

Jennifer Bell (Cicilline), (202) 365-0827

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921