City officials open long-awaited Lucien E. Blackwell Community Center in West Philadelphia

Supporters have waited more than 18 years for this day.

Paul Kurtz
October 12, 2018 - 3:56 pm
Lucien Blackwell Community Center

Paul Kurtz | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- City officials and residents of the Mill Creek neighborhood in West Philadelphia are celebrating the long-awaited opening of a community center and park. 

It took about 17 months to construct the 12,000-square-foot Lucien Blackwell Community Center at 47th and Aspen Streets, but supporters have actually waited more than 18 years for this day. Funding issues held up the project that ultimately cost $7 million. Still, neighbors like Iola Broaddus are anxious to break in the new gathering spot.

"I know this will be a very positive thing," Broaddus said. "I plan to come in and work with the children. I plan to come in and make sure the children have a safe haven, that they can come in and enjoy themselves."
Housing Authority President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah says the center will accommodate people of all ages. 

"We got a basketball court, we have kitchens, a learning area, meeting space," he said. "It's just an incredible facility that will really enhance the lives of the residents who call this place home."

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell was instrumental in shepherding this project. 

"We're very grateful to see it become reality," Blackwell said, "so that we can fulfill our commitment to the neighborhood, to the community, and certainly to the legacy of Lucien Blackwell."