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Organization unveils plans for community center in northeast Columbia


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

United Community Builders says it is almost to that goal, having already raised $2.5 million in donations. Executive Director Damian Dean said at a news conference Friday that he wants the Beacon Community Center to be an anchor of hope for northeast Columbia.

The not-for-profit organization says the Beacon Community Center will serve low-income residents in northeast Columbia. 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 build a new 16,000-square-foot building.

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

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 at the event presenting UCB with a $1 million check.

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

Dean said he wants CPD to play a major factor in how the center operates.

"We want the presence of Columbia PD in a positive light," Dean said. "We don't want them coming for calls but we want them to be apart of the process where kids will see them on a daily basis in a positive light. They're at the community center, they're playing basketball with them, they’re talking to them about positive things they can do or they’re guest speakers. We want the police department to feel welcome here just like all the other citizens in this area."

UCB says if things go as planned it anticipates the new building being in place by 2023. UCB says it wants the new community center to be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.

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

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Joushua Blount

Joushua Blount hails from Cleveland, Ohio and has a bachelor’s degree in media communications from the University of Toledo. He also has a master’s degree from the University Of Alabama. Roll Tide!


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