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The vision: what is a Community Center, and why would Lincoln want to build one?

A Community Center not only reflects the community at whose heart it sits, it strengthens that community.  A Community Center is a year-round, intergenerational gathering place and activity center.  A Community Center is a locus for a wide variety of activities – health and fitness, social services, learning, eating, socializing, creating, playing, participating.  A Community Center enriches the community by fostering organizational collaboration and by housing an array of programs, for all ages.

At its heart, the Community Center is a home for the Lincoln Council on Aging & Human Services and the Parks & Recreation Department, both of which do much more than most people realize, and both of which run constrained programs in their current homes.  The Community Center also provides a base for 25 other community organizations whose work is critical to the quality of life in Lincoln.  But the vision of a Community Center on the Lincoln School campus is of a building that exists not only to serve important organizational needs and to optimize programming, though those might be adequate reasons for building a new building, it is also of a building that will attract residents of all ages to gather for coffee and meetings and informal activities.

Lincoln has a sense of community – we have impromptu encounters at the transfer station and at Donelan’s, we have annual events like the Scarecrow Classic, the Girl Scouts Pancake Breakfast, the July 4 parade, and we have Town Meeting.  But the everyday contribution of a Community Center to the life of the community and to the sense of community can be far greater, and the possibilities are exciting – because the number of people using the Center will be so much higher, because the range of activities will be much greater, because the opportunities for intergenerational interaction will expand, because the provision of social services will be improved and the organizations providing those services will be more robust.