Carver Community Center prepares for re-opening despite leadership fallout

By Marshanna Hester

July 23, 2013 Updated Jul 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The Carver Community Center is preparing for its grand re-opening on Friday, but getting to this point hasn't been easy.

Local NAACP president Donald Jackson said a disagreement over rent for the Carver Community Center led to the fallout between board members and interim Executive Director Ken Hinton.

Hinton resigned in May.

"It was just silliness and then of course personalities got involved," Jackson said.

Executive Committee Member Michael Weems said several things over time caused the separation, but still gives credit where it is due.

"Ken was instrumental in helping us get to this point," said Weems. "We want to thank him and the rest of his core team."

Now, the focus is moving forward

A mural depicting the center's motto, "Lifting As We Climb," serves as inspiration for the board to make Carver a sustainable organization.

Getting there is a concern for Jackson.

"Unless they have secured long term funding, the center may very well be back in the same shape it was in late 2011 when it had to close," Jackson said.

A long-term funding source is not yet in place, but Weems said LISC has donated a strategic consultant to help develop a plan.

That plan also includes finding money to hire a permanent executive director.

Until then, the board will oversee operations.

"We will have the people working under the transformation grant, which will be housed there during the day and we'll have a group of volunteers helping to facilitate programs," said Weems.

"If you are truly inquisitive or if you really care about what's going on at the center, let's not be confrontational, let's not be pushy," said Board Member Xavier Roberts.

Friday's re-opening ceremony begins at 10 a.m., followed by a program, tours and other events.

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