Organization unveils plans for community center in northeast Colombia


United Community Builders unveiled plans for the $4 million Beacon Community Center on Friday.

United Community Builders says it has nearly reached that goal, having already raised $2.5 million in donations. Executive director Damian Dean told a press conference on Friday that he wanted the Beacon Community Center to be an anchor of hope for northeast Colombia.

The non-profit organization says the Beacon Community Center will serve low-income residents in northeast Colombia. The group discussed crime, poverty and school performance statistics at Friday’s event.

UCB plans to demolish its current location at 1801 Towne Drive and construct a new 16,000 square foot building.

The center will offer existing programs such as Club Kid Connect, which is a summer academy for young people, and Focus on Fatherhood, a program that helps fathers improve their relationships with their children. Dean says a mental health program is planned once the building opens.

Watch a playback of the announcement in the player below.

Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones and Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Brian Yearwood were among several community leaders who attended the announcement. The Veterans United Foundation was also present at the event to present UCB with a check for one million dollars.

Jones said he hopes the services provided will empower people to find solutions to problems that don’t include violence.

Dean said he wanted the DPC to play a major role in the running of the center.

“We want Columbia PD’s presence in a positive light,” Dean said. “We don’t want them to come for calls, but we want them to be part of the process where the kids will see them in a positive light every day. They’re at the community center, they’re playing basketball with them, they’re talking to them positive things they can do or they are guest speakers. We want the police department to feel welcome here, just like all other citizens in this area.

UCB says if things go according to plan, it expects the new building to be in place by 2023. UCB says it wants the new community center to be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Donations can be made to or send a Cash App transfer to $ucbuilders.

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