The struggle to save the Douglass Community Center began in September of 2014 with high hopes for success. Multiple meetings with Metro Parks, the support of Louisville’s citizens(1,700 of you signed our petition!), and Metro Council’s allocation of $250,000 to begin rehabilitating the facility were very encouraging.
Two years later the situation is stagnant. The meetings with Metro Parks reveal no real intention of renovating the old house, and the money budgeted for the Douglass Community Center in FY 2015-16 sits largely untouched. Councilman Tom Owen’s efforts to procure more funding in this year’s budget failed, and, unfortunately, Representative Mary Lou Marzian’s efforts met with the same disappointing outcome at the state level.
All inquiries as to the future of the Douglass Community Center are met with vague assurances from the city that there are no plans to close the center. However, despite the recent release of a new calendar of programs, the overall condition of the facility is dismal. No improvements are being made to any part of the center apart from volunteers painting what is now called the Education Building (the cement block structure behind the gym). The Education Building is to be the center of programming in the future, however, it is filthy and none of the rooms are fit for use. Flooring has been awaiting approval for months now, but even without flooring a certain level of cleanliness should be maintained. The improvements that have been made, such as a new pool table and some furniture, are all things that could be loaded onto the back of a truck and moved to another center.
The HDNA will continue to fight for the Douglass Community Center. Its vibrant history as a place where people from all walks of life come together to learn, play, and build community can be reawakened. The old house itself is a rich part of our neighborhood’s history and is worth saving for that reason alone, but saving it as a community center is our top priority. We will continue to seek out ways to protect that heritage and pave the way for a thriving future.