The Manitoba Islamic Association (MIA) is Knox’s newest neighbour. Welcome to Central Park.
After almost of year of conversation MIA has taken ownership of the building immediately north of Knox Church, known as 406. About 40 years ago, Knox entered into a partnership which oversaw the construction of the 3 story building and it became known as the Knox International Centre. When the Provincial government decided to buy out its long term lease on the building the Knox Board and Trustees set a process in place to decide what to do with the asset. The small Knox congregation knew that it didn’t have the capacity to oversee two large buildings, and they wanted to see the intention of the building to serve the Central Park community continue. MIA rose as a viable owner and the building was more given than sold to them. MIA will invest in renovating the building.
MIA has long wanted to have a presence in downtown, where many newcomer Muslims live. They plan to convert the currently vacant second floor to house mental health services and poverty-relief programs as well as a space for up to 200 people to pray. The Knox Day Nursery will remain on the main floor and a child welfare agency will continue to occupy space.
The shared atrium and the elevator, shared between the two buildings will insure that the two groups have to relate to one another. It is a wonderful opportunity to develop community. Both players have great hopes for shared programming and other connections.
Knox has long been a hub for community services and this change will strength that presence in the area.