$3.8M expansion helps center better serve Troy community

Ongoing legacy of Lincoln Community Center ‘truly remarkable.’

TROY – The Lincoln Community Center has something it has needed for a long time.

That’s more space for the programs and services it offers the community.

“I am very grateful, motivated and excited about the opportunities it can provide to the community and the surrounding areas,” said center Executive Director Shane Carter.

The center’s supporters in late August showed off its new offerings first with a ribbon-cutting and donor recognition followed by a community open house. The center is tucked in an area between West Main Street and McKaig Avenue.

The $3.8 million expansion project was built with donations of all amounts from $1 million by Pat and Thom Robinson of Troy and Upper Valley Medical Center to $500,000 and ongoing from Leib and Barbara Lurie of Troy to donations of all sizes from people in the community.

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“We saw a lot of faith in our organization,” Carter said of the Legacy campaign during which the additional funding was raised.

The 21,803-square-foot addition includes a high school regulation gym, lobby/reception area, program/activity areas, kitchen/concession area, exercise room, storage and staff offices and work areas.

Space in the original center building, from 1939, will be used and refurbished over time.

The earlier building will be redone in the same color scheme as the new structure and have added wayfinding signage, modeled after the new building, said Carter, who has been at the center 10 years.

That building is being named The John and Caroline Spencer Building in honor of John Spencer, the then-president of Hobart Manufacturing and his wife. The Spencers led the planning, campaign and construction of the 1939 building.

Plans for continued use of that building include its popular pool and a 1939 stage for performing arts and other activities.

“The strong, ongoing legacy of Lincoln Community Center is truly remarkable,” Carter said. “I never cease to be amazed at how the organization has the ability to help and support so many people in so many different ways through good times and challenging times.”

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A good example, he said, was the COVID-19 pandemic when the center was closed and programs suspended. But the center continue its work providing children and families food, health items, information and games and educational materials from a tent on the center’s grounds.

Late one morning recently, the center’s gymnasium was being used for pickle ball while a group of young people from a court community service program worked in the center’s outdoor garden.

The project also added parking along with more safety features, modern technology and an overall more efficient facility, Carter said.

MT Studios of Troy was the architect for the project and Level MB Construction served as general contractor.

The public campaign for the center was kicked off in early 2020. The center’s beginnings were in a one-room school built for African American children in the 1860s.

“This facility has served us well, but we are literally bursting at the seams,” Jim Daniel, the center Legacy campaign’s volunteer director, said during the 2020 kickoff.

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The one-room school operated from 1865 to 1874. The school foundation and footprint exist today within the original center’s front wing.

The school was joined in the late 1930s by the 17,000-square-foot facility that has now been joined by the addition.

For more information on the Lincoln Community Center and its offerings, visit lcctroy.org or contact Shane Carter at 937-335-2715.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.

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