Youth-center project reaches impasse

By jeanne starmack


Building a new youth and community center is at an impasse, says the head of a committee that formed to explore starting one in the city.

But a search for money to buy and renovate the old Faith Temple Baptist Church building on Roosevelt Drive is continuing, said Dr. Robert Walls. The committee would like to house the center there until a new one can be built.

The committee, which formed in January, asked council in March for help getting government grants to build a new center.

Walls told lawmakers the city would have an easier time than the committee in applying for and winning grants.

The city decided in March to start looking for grants, compile what it found after 30 days and come up with a plan to act on the information.

Council President William VanSuch said Tuesday that hasn’t happened.

“There was no update to tell me where we stand on the situation,” he said.

Walls said he believes the impasse has happened because of disagreements among city officials, saying there must be cooperation for the plan to work.

“But I’m working with Neighborhood Ministries on a portfolio for foundations,” he said, to try to get enough money to buy the old church building and do renovations.

The portfolio is similar to a business plan, he added.

Neighborhood Ministries is an organization that offers family services in low-income neighborhoods. There is an office in Campbell near Kirwan Homes.

Representatives of the organization sit on the youth-center committee.

Mark Samuel, the organization’s director, said it will take care of developing a prospectus to submit to private foundations.

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