Archives: Timeline Stories

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Growth Continues

In 2021, after years of planning and fundraising, the Center opened a 21,803 sq. ft. expansion. The addition includes a high school regulation gym, lobby/reception area, program and activities rooms, weight room with locker rooms, storage space, staff offices, conference room, and a concession area. This building is home to over a hundred programs. Lincoln Community Center takes pride in being an affordable facility for adults and a free facility to children. Shane believes, “Lincoln Community Center is needed as much as any other organization in the City of Troy. It provides hope for so many underprivileged youth and is utilized by all walks of life, ages young to old. We are excited about getting started with an expansion plan to provide more space and opportunity for the community.” Today, the Center continues to reach a record number of members and youth that utilize our building daily. We now offer more programs than ever before and are utilizing both the original building, recently renamed the John and Caroline Spencer Building, and the new expansion. Our programs have grown tremendously in numbers over the years, and we hope to continue adding new programs for the community to take part in. Without the Lincoln Community Center, where would everyone go?

A Multicultural Community Center is Born

Under the leadership of Executive Director Shane K. Carter, Lincoln Community Center became more vibrant and alive, offering more than 42 programs for people of all ages year-round. Shane took over the position in September 2011. Under his tenure, the Center underwent a complete facelift including building renovations to the foyer, main office, weight room, and basement, as well as the addition of a full-service kitchen and computer lab. Upon his hiring, Shane implemented a new mission statement: “To provide a facility for the residents of Troy and the vicinity, to engage in educational, social, cultural, and recreational activities. The Center provides opportunities for people of all ages to participate in a wide range of programs that educate and stimulate the public, enhance self-confidence, and promote mental and physical health.”

Changing of the Guard

The 2000s saw the retirement of longtime director Alphas Wicker and the appointment of new director Isaiah Williams. Lincoln Community Center also continued with the Center’s traditional Easter Egg Hunt. In 2007 ITW provided a $248,000 dollar grant to renovate the gymnasium and locker rooms. LCC employees Harold Hughes and son Jeremy Hughes continued making the long-time youth basketball programs a success. In 2010 a grant from the Troy Foundation saved the 70-year-old pool and provided new pumps and filtration systems for the dying pool facility. Senior citizens continued to utilize the facility with pickleball and water aerobics.

Welcome to a New Age

As the nation was preparing for 1999 and the end of the world, Lincoln Community Center continued with the successful mentoring programs using basketball as a major teacher for life lessons created by the Center’s own Harold Hughes.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Recreational, educational, and social programs continued to keep the Center in the mainstream of community and provide hope for Troy’s youth. The Center has always provided opportunities for all ages, so that “young and old have an opportunity to find the best and most satisfying use of leisure time.” Longtime Lincoln Community Center employee Harold Hughes started a boys mentoring program called Hughes Connection and Kids Zone. The Center also participated in the Troy Strawberry Festival serving up deep fried candy bars, which were a huge success.

Making Things Better

The 1970s were dedicated to developing physical programs and to improving the building and making it more flexible. Trojans who wanted and needed exercise, but who couldn’t afford the cost of a health spa, could take advantage of this new opportunity. In 1976, the Center sponsored a series of Black History in America lectures at the Troy-Miami County Public Library in honor of the Bicentennial. During the 1970s, the Center truly became a community gathering place, with its mix of sports and programs to attract people of all ages and ethnicities.

Changing with the Times

Some of the activities that were a part of the Center during this time period included a continuous game night program for children and adults, birthday parties for children, softball and baseball games in which many of the youngsters played on various teams representing the Center, a calisthenics program, a physical fitness program, and a swimming program. The front of the Center also took on a new look with updated landscaping. The basic theme of the Center was social, stressing ideas with which to help the Black community.

Always Growing

The decade of the 1950s was a time of both growth and establishment for Lincoln Community Center. During this decade the Center became more financially sound and recreational programs continued to be developed. In fact, the decade started with the Center being incorporated, thus getting rights as a charitable organization. Perhaps the most significant event of the 1950s was the John Spencer Trust Fund, established upon his death in 1954. The $50,000.00 fund was arranged through the Troy Foundation and was to be used for operational expenses at the Center. Throughout the 1950s, several social events became regular community activities at the Center. Among these socials were dinner, silver teas, and indoor carnivals. The youth groups at the Center also assisted in several activities including popularity contests, civic, health, and other campaigns. During the 1950s, various teams from the Center, including men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s softball, competed with other teams from the area.

The Center’s First Decade

Many people played a part in the construction of Lincoln Community Center and in molding the programs and ideals the Center supported in its early years. The names of John M. Spencer and Dr. W. M. Bradford stand out above the rest as being integral in developing these programs. Lincoln Community Center developed a philosophy of being open to everyone, with a clientele ranging from age 8 to 80. By the end of the decade, Lincoln Community Center had firmly established itself as an important institution in Troy as well as a Center for social life. The building had grown out of the Depression, matured during the war, and looked forward to what appeared to be a healthy future.

A New Building

Talk had gone beyond merely opening the old building to construction of a new building, complete with a full-size gym and a 54,000-gallon heated pool. In April of 1938, the project was approved. A year and a half later, the new building was dedicated, with Cyrus Russell as its first director. Lincoln Center Community Association had not only survived the Depression, but it also planned and constructed a building that was one of only two of its kind, for a town Troy’s size, in America.