Friday, July 1, 2016

Hazel Center, Salvation Army could break to save program

A community discussion about the survival of a financially strapped youth center on the predominately black West Side of Salisbury has prompted talks about removing the Richard Hazel Youth Center from under the auspice of the Salvation Army.

What is certain, vowed Wicomico County and City of Salisbury top brass to a room-full of thunderous applause, is that the center which has provided summer camp and winter after-school programs for hundreds of children for 15 years, will remain open.

The Wednesday, June 29 discussion on the fate of the Hazel Youth Center attracted parents of youth club members, area clergy and many among the who's who in state, county and city politics, community and agency leadership and philanthropy to St. Paul AME Zion Church on Delaware Avenue.

While frustrations about a financial shortfall and questions regarding the allocation of program funding by the Salvation Army consumed some of the discussion, moderator Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes, D-37B-Wicomico steered the roughly two-hour session toward finding a financial solution to the center's dilemma.

The Salvation Army recently drew sharp criticism after the non-profit religious organization announced that come fall, the Hazel Center would close permanently if funding wasn't raised to plug an average $150,000 annual shortfall to operate the facility off Jersey Road. The youth center structure with a swimming pool is owned by the Salvation Army, yet occupies land behind the Billy Gene Jackson Sr. Park that is owned and operated by Wicomico County's Recreation and Parks.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about asking the Community Foundation for help?