BOSTON — The future of a well-known athletic complex in Boston hangs in the balance after months of controversy and an investigation by the attorney general.
A bill is on the table to take oversight of the Reggie Lewis Center away from Roxbury Community College and give it to a state appointed board.
The Reggie Lewis Center serves as a meeting place for thousands; from community groups to international track and field meets. And some in the community wonder if they'll get a say in what happens to the corner stone of the neighborhood if this bill passes.
Years after President Obama rallied for local democrats in the building on Malcolm X Boulevard, there is a rumble in Roxbury over the leadership of the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Complex.
“We're prepared to stand and fight for our college,” community activist Sadiki Kambon said.
After at least two a state audits, an attorney general's investigation and the controversial dismissal of its longtime director, local lawmakers have filed a bill that would take oversight of the center from Roxbury Community College to give it to an independent state board.
“We think that it's more encompassing of having more of a voice of the community,” a sponsor, Rep. Russell Holmes (D - 6th Suffolk District), said.
Holmes said up until this weekend, there was even a proposal to have UMass Boston take over operations of the center.
“What we don't want to do is weaken RCC as a college,” said Holmes. “So taking Reggie Lewis Center from RCC is certainly not going to be on the board anymore."
Members of the community, as well as the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association, asked an independent body to step in after $120,000 raised by the association was held in an RCC fund instead of going toward renovations and other issues.
In a statement to FOX25, the association said: "RCC has failed to maintain their promise to the mission of high school track and field...MSTCA wants to protect the thousands that use this facility."
“Our community has an emotional attachment to Roxbury Community College,” said Kambon.
Kambon, a spokesperson for Friends of RCC, said they don't want the community college’s administration to be in charge of the Reggie Lewis Center, but they don't want an outside government body to take over either.
They'd rather have RCC President Valerie Roberson fired – citing the mismanagement of funds.
“This new independent body would be appointed by the governor. And we don't know how much input we would have in terms of say, so as it pertains to who would be selected, but we envision that to be the first step of taking the Reggie Lewis from our community,” Kambon said.
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