CARBONDALE — The board for a community neighborhood association has started a crowdfunding benefit to help improve the center.

The Board of Directors of the Eurma C. Hayes Center, 441 E. Willow St. in Carbondale, is seeking to raise $10,000 for the rehabilitation of the site, which is expected to house the district office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the group had raised about $1,155 of that amount, according to the YouCaring crowdfunding website.

The Eurma C. Hayes Community Center was built in 1973.

The board is now led by Carlton Smith, who is also a member of the Carbondale Board of Education. At an event at a northeast side church this past year, Smith talked about the significance of the Eurma C. Hayes Center on the lives of those in that neighborhood and community, vowing to not let it die on his watch.

Smith could not be reached by telephone Wednesday afternoon.

The money raised would pay for repairs and/or rehabilitation for flooring, lighting, plumbing, HVAC, phone/internet, door access and painting, according to the YouCaring site. The money donated would all go to pay for the repairs and rehabilitation, according to the website.

"That's a pretty big deal," board secretary John Lenzini said of the financial undertaking. He said the money raised and projects to be completed would allow the center to attract and rent space to organizations that would benefit that community and all of Carbondale.

"Under new board leadership, the ECHC seeks to operate as a self-sustaining non-profit which rents space to other self-sustaining non-profit community service providers who operate under leases," notes information on the YouCaring site about the center. "Toward this end, the ECHC structure is in need of costly repairs and rehabilitation to bring it up to code and make it operational in the coming weeks. Viable tenants are already on board, including a team of doctors proposing a free Friday clinic and a Southern Illinois hub office for U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth."

The Eurma C. Hayes Center also houses the nonprofit I Can Read! literacy program and offices for the Carbondale Branch of the NAACP and The Women's Center rape crisis outreach.

stephanie.esters@thesouthern.com

618-351-5805

On Twitter: @scribeest

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Reporter

Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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