Kingswood Community Center originated in 1945, when the all-white Kingswood Methodist Church started offering youth recreational programs for the community around the 11th Street Bridge.
In the ’50s, housing projects for city residents who were displaced by urban construction were built, leading to white flight that resulted in a disinvestment from the neighborhood. That meant few resources, increasing unemployment, poverty and crime. KCC remained, however, through decades of challenges for the community, including a downturn in the early 2010s that almost forced it to close. It was saved by members of the community, including Logan S. Herring, who became KCC’s permanent executive director in 2016.
In 2017, The WRK Group was formed, merging KCC with the community nonprofit REACH Riverside and then in-development teen center The Warehouse with a mission to “empower the community to reach its full potential by eliminating the barriers of structural racism and revolutionizing teen engagement.”
While Riverside continues to face challenges — not least of all the recent flooding from Hurricane Ida — the number of resources it offers continues to grow, from workforce development programs to health resources to a $26 million housing development investment from the State of Delaware.
The WRK Group recently launched a campaign to raise $41 million to build the new Kingswood Community Center, a facility that will offer childcare, after-school programs, fitness, community space, primary healthcare and an expanded senior center.
“Riverside has been ignored for too long and The WRK Group is excited to be a part of bringing equity and returning dignity to this community,” Herring said in a statement. “Our neighborhood has seen a lot of changes over the last 75 years, and KCC has stood with the community through it all. I’m excited and honored to be challenged with ushering in the next era of KCC. I know that we will continue to witness great changes, challenges, and celebrations over the next 75 years to come.”
In honor of Kingswood’s 75th anniversary, The WRK Group is hosting 75 Days of Giving, beginning Oct. 17 and ending on Dec. 31. During that time, The WRK Group will share opportunities to invest in the new Kingswood — with donations in increments of 75 encouraged — in support of initiatives connected to its pillars of recreation, education and community health.
75 Days of Giving will kick off with a CommUNITY Day on Saturday, Oct. 16, from noon to 3 p.m. at Kingswood Community Center, 2300 Bowers St. This free and family-friendly event will include lunch, information from resource partners, live music and activities for kids.-30-