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Published: Friday, 10/21/2005

Planned community center wins grant


The North Toledo neighborhood rocked by Saturday's riot is closer to having a new community center, which civic leaders hope can prevent the discord that contributed to the violence.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) will announce today a $97,000 government contribution toward a proposed multipurpose community center on Elm Street near Austin Street.

In 2003, the Lagrange Development Corp. bought the property, which was a grocery store and later a church. Terry Glazer, executive director of the nonprofit group, said the 12,000-square-foot facility would cost $1 million. A fund-raising campaign has yielded about $300,000, plus today's grant.

"We thought it was a good time to announce it in the community, because I think people want to heal and build forward," Miss Kaptur said.

Mr. Glazer said the community center would be used for recreation, counseling, and job training. There would also be a computer lab and space for community police officers.

Since the riot that started after a planned neo-Nazi march was canceled, city leaders said one reason youths join gangs is a lack of such a place to meet.

"It's always good to have a positive structural program for young people after school or during the summer," said Toledo Councilman Michael Ashford. "Many of the people in the riot were adults and you have to have a component to address concerns of folks in the riot and those who lack job training opportunities [and] lack of employment opportunities."

Toledo police continue to investigate the riot and review videotapes in an attempt to identify those involved.

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