Autism center moving into Greenwood’s Polk Building

Polk Building
Polk Building

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — A historic building that’s been vacant for years will be getting new life.

A center for kids with autism will be moving into the Polk Building.

The Cornerstone Autism Center has its headquarters in Greenwood, but it’s been needing more space to expand its services.

Officials say the historic Polk building which is the former city building is a perfect fit.

Each day dozens of children arrive at the Cornerstone Autism Center in Greenwood for learning, play, and treatment.

“We have kids here from two years old to 22 so runs the gamut of skills and it’s just fun to see them move along,” Cornerstone Autism Center COO Debbie Ide said.

Ide is excited about the next step for her organization.

“This new building in Greenwood is going to allow us to expand to serve more children but also allow us to increase the breadth of services that we offer,” she said.

The center will be breathing new life into the historic Polk Building on Madison Avenue.

“We went to visit it, myself and my business partner, and we could see the vision,” she said.

Her vision includes adding 30 jobs and creating more training opportunities for an often under served population.

“We’re hoping to target our older clients, teens, young adults, and be able to offer services particularly for them,” she said, “It has a place in my heart because I have a teenage son with autism and I’m always looking for things that he can do, he can participate in.”

And she calls it fate that brought their mission together with its new home, the Polk Building, Greenwood’s first community center built a century ago.

“Actually this would be the best fit possible just for the fact of what Cornerstone provides to the children,” Greenwood Deputy Mayor Terry McLaughlin said, “We’ve been able to keep the historic value throughout the years that it’s been there.”

“It’s exciting stuff all the way around,” Ide said.

The city sold the building to Faulkner & Associates several months ago.

That company is now putting nearly $700,000 dollars in renovations into the space to get it ready for Cornerstone.