Morning Newsletter

Lexington council moves to approve plan for Charles Young Community Center

Residents of Lexington's East End neighborhood applauded Thursday night after the Urban County Council voted 11-0 to accept and implement the recommendations of a task force on the future of the Charles Young Community Center.

Four members were absent. Council is scheduled to give final approval at its meeting next Thursday.

The Charles Young task force, chaired by 1st District Councilman Chris Ford, issued a report recommending that the city retain ownership of the building, but partner with community organizations to offer activities and programs there. The center has been closed for more than three years.

The task force preferred that the center be used for youth activities, services for older adults and job training or workforce development. It could also serve as a community center or recreational facility.

The task force discouraged using the building as a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, clothing bank or any use that would allow people to sleep on the premises.

The center is named after Maysville native Col. Charles Young, the third black man to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

East End residents filled the council chambers to speak about the positive influence the center had had on them as youngsters.

Quinton Roberts said he spent hours every day at the center, shooting baskets and playing.

Darlene Heard-Madison told how she had learned to rollerskate in the gym. She said East End residents want to have access to the center for wedding receptions, birthday parties, dance teams, basketball games, senior citizen lunch clubs and zumba classes.

The building needs about $173,000 of repairs. Irene Gooding, director of the city's division of grants, said that it looked as if two projects aimed at energy conservation would not be able to meet a Sept. 30, 2012, deadline for spending $550,000 in federal stimulus money. Gooding said that money might be used for the center.

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