The Ross Center and Rose Park

Thomas Park Avondale

The Ross Center and Rose Park

Muncie, Indiana 47303, United States

Created By: Ball State University


Location: Bounded by W. 10th Street, S. Pierce Street, W. 9th Street, and S. Birch Street (Rose Park); 1110 W. 10th Street (Ross Center)

Year Built: 1917 (Rose Park); 1974 (Community Center)

Current Use: Public Park and Community Center

Rose Park was dedicated on May 25, 1917 on land donated by the industrialist T. F. Rose and his wife.[1] In addition to providing recreational greenspace to the surrounding neighborhood, Rose Park participated in Muncie’s organized formal sports competitions at city parks throughout the first half of the 20th century known as “Playground Meets.”[2] Throughout the 1970s, during the height of productivity at the Muncie Chevrolet Plant, Rose Park underwent a period of major revitalization and the Garland E. Ross Recreation Center, named after a local grocer, politician, and philanthropist, was established in 1974.[3] It has been the heart of Rose Park ever since.[4]

For many years, the Center hosted birthday parties, baby showers, and other events as well as being well-known for its youth baseball programs which continue today.[5] It was extremely popular right from the beginning and in 1977 boasted an annual attendance of nearly 35,000 people.[6] The Center’s existence, however, was threatened during the 2008 recession when the City of Muncie halted public funding for several recreation centers including the Ross Center, which mainly survived on volunteer labor and the local neighborhood association.[7] In 2011, the Center officially became a self-sustaining nonprofit organization and was renamed The Ross Center.[8] Through various grants from foundations such as the Ball Brothers Foundation and IU Health, the Ross Center has formed a pre-school, an after-school program, and additional sports programs for students ranging from basketball to Judo.[9] The Ross Center continues to serve the community with a mission of cultivating lifelong learning, while Rose Park serves both the Center and the community by providing facilities such as baseball fields and a playground.[10]

[1] “The Dedication of Rose Park, Friday,” Muncie Evening Press, May 24, 1917.

[2] “Playground Meet Won by Rose Park,” The Star Press, August 28, 1926.

[3] “11:15 a.m.: Smokestack demolition marks end of Chevy era in Muncie.” Herald Bulletin, January 31, 2008,; Shirley Shephard, “Rose Park Improvements Sought,” Muncie Evening Press. May 11, 1973; “Garland E. Ross, President of Ross’ Corner, Is Founder of the Profit-Sharing Plan and Originator of Independence Party,” The Star Press, June 29, 1949.

[4] “Buley, Ross youth centers dedicated,” The Star Press, September 8, 1975.

[5] “Grantee Spotlight: Baseball Field Build-Out & Neighborhood Revitalization Sparked by Ball Brothers Foundation Grants Continues a Decade Later,” Ball Brothers Foundation, May 11, 2023,

[6] “Ross Community Center used by 35,000 in ‘76-’77”, Muncie Evening Press, Aug 33, 1977.

[7] “Grantee Spotlight,” Ball Brothers Foundation.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Grantee Spotlight,” Ball Brothers Foundation; “Programs,” Ross Community Center,; “Sports,” Ross Community Center,

[10] “Our Mission and Vision,” Ross Community Center,; “Grantee Spotlight,” Ball Brothers Foundation.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Thomas Park Avondale


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