Even Saturday’s storm front knew well enough to wait on Kingswood Community Center’s 75th Birthday Celebration.
Hundreds of neighbors, allies and volunteers marked 75 years of community building on Wilmington’s East Side with boxed lunches, health resources, pumpkin carving, a color run and live music.The Center originated in 1945, when the Kingswood Methodist Church began offering youth recreational programs for the community near the 11th Street Bridge.
Disinvestment from the neighborhood in the 1950s left diminished resources, increased unemployment, poverty and crime. KCC remained through difficult decades, including a downturn in the early 2010s that nearly forced its closure. Members of the community, including then-Executive Director, Logan Herring, rallied to make KCC the heart of burgeoning community development dubbed, REACH Riverside.
That ongoing redevelopment of the neighborhood is poised to accelerate after receiving just over to $26 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds last week.
“This purpose-built community will accelerate the development of safe, affordable housing for hundreds of Delaware families, Gov. John Carney said at an event last week.
“Development will support a mix of housing options for city residents, as well as providing wraparound social services to the community.”
Significant federal funding, though, is just the beginning. To honor Kingswood’s 75th anniversary, the organization is hosting 75 Days of Giving through the end of the year. During that time, The Group will share opportunities to invest in the new Kingswood in increments of 75 encouraged in support of its core pillars of recreation, education and community health.
“We will continue to be here and beat the drum for a community that hasn’t been heard from for a very long time,” Herring, now the organization’s CEO, told WDEL. “And tomorrow and for the foreseeable future, we will continue to be heard to bring equity and justice to a community, until we need to be heard no more.”