'The city needs some hope': Pastor Corey Brooks breaks ground for new Woodlawn community center

At least 29 children and teens in Chicago have been shooting victims, 7 of them killed, just this month.

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Saturday, October 29, 2022
Pastor Brooks breaks ground for new South Side community center
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Chicago Pastor Corey Brooks broke ground for new Woodlawn community center on the city's South Side.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Woodlawn neighborhood celebrated after hearing Pastor Corey Brooks finally raised enough money to start construction of his much anticipated community center.

The Chicago faith leader ended his months-long rooftop campaign. He started camping out on a makeshift roof in November of last year to raise money to replace an old motel that once occupied a lot across the street from his New Beginnings Church with a community center.

SEE ALSO | 'Rooftop Pastor' Corey Brooks raises $18M to begin demolition for new Woodlawn community center

So far, Brooks has raised around $20 million, enough to start construction.

"We just decided it's a good time, that the city needs some hope, that it needs some inspiration," Brooks said.

Saturday's ceremonial groundbreaking came as at least 29 children and teens in the city have been shooting victims, and seven of them killed, just this month. Married and a father of an 11-year-old son, South Side native Michael Holmes hopes the center will make a difference.

"It's going to put a lot of positivity and a lot of positive situations to use," he said.

RELATED | Pastor of Woodlawn church raises $10M living on rooftop, staying to raise $25M more

The effort to build the leadership and economic opportunity center at 66th Street and King Drive is 10 years in the making for Brooks' Project HOOD, which stands for "helping others obtain destiny."

"As it gets built, the years after that, we're going to see it and its going to benefit us and help us," said Jahlil Porter with Project HOOD.

Organizers said the 85,000 square-foot facility will take at least 18 months to build and will not only revitalize the neighborhood, but provide support services and resources to the community.

"I'm very hopeful and I'm looking forward to being a part of it," said Alanda Redmond, a Woodlawn resident.

READ MORE | Chicago pastor to spend 3 months living on shipping containers to raise $30M for Woodlawn center

The neighborhood still celebrated, although the total cost of the center is $35 million, which is millions more than what's been already raised.

Brooks said he plans on continuing to fundraise by using social media to appeal to generous donors everywhere.