Vandals damage community center helping Durham residents find jobs, host meetings – WRAL News

Vandals damage community center helping Durham residents find jobs, host meetings – WRAL News

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WRAL Morning News
Morrisville home heavily damaged in fire
WRAL WeatherCenter Forecast
Published: 2022-08-02 22:26:16
Updated: 2022-08-02 22:26:16
Posted August 2, 2022 10:26 p.m. EDT
By Aaron Thomas, WRAL reporter
— Broken windows, sinks and toilets smashed to pieces was just some of the damage to a community center in Durham.
Local leaders in Durham believe vandals are behind the destruction. But, investigators said they don’t have any suspects or motive in mind, at this point.
Durham Housing Authority’s T.A. Grady Recreation Center is a hub for residents — hosting everything from community meetings and providing job resources. While the center has gates on the windows in an effort to make the building more secure, there weren’t any cameras to catch the culprits in the act.
“This is very difficult to walk through, especially when I remember the people that were here. When I remember the children that were here,” said Suzette Spence, the program manager for the Jobs Plus program at the center.
Spence said the level of destruction is hard for her to wrap her head around.
“The men’s room, if you just walk in, you’ll be able to see the toilets were destroyed, the urinals were destroyed,” she said. “They actually took something and destroyed the sinks.”
Every room at the community center is damaged.
“It was heartbreaking to see this facility [damaged] that we often use and now have to go to the drawing board and find alternatives,” said DHA communications manager Aalayah Sanders.
“We have very limited resources to go back to the drawing board to fix these things and figure out other security measures to keep this place safe for our residents and our staff.”
Spence said as program manager for the Jobs Plus program, she sees firsthand people who use the space to make changes in their future.
“This is heartbreaking. This is heart wrenching,” said Spence.
Other damage to the center includes ripping a water fountain from the wall and smashing plates on the ground.
“I feel like I’m just in a dream, like, this really happened and I’m really looking at this destruction,” said Spence. “We’re forced to try and move forward in the midst of chaos.”

Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews said she’s disgusted by the vandalism.
“It really does bother me what the person, or those people did. They took away resources from a community that needs resources,” said Andrews.
Because of the vandalism, Durham residents may be without valuable resources.
“To find an alternative will definitely put some residents at a disadvantage who don’t have transportation,” said Sanders.
“That is really terrible. That community center is here to help us out … I’m really devastated by that,” said McDouglad Terrace resident Ronda Bailey.
“I feel embarrassed for our community … we might need the center for a meeting or something, but we can’t do it because it’s messed up.”
The center’s staff said they’re committed to repairing the building.
“We’re going to continue to do the work that we do,” said Spence.
“[The vandals] are not going to win because I know this community is going to come together and make it right,” said Andrews.
DHA is accepting donations to help repair the inside of the building. Anyone looking to help contribute via check payable to Learning Assistance and can be mailed to Durham Housing Authority at 330 E. Main St., Durham, N.C., 277701.
Copyright 2022 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
©2022 Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc.


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