#HomeGrownStories – Shane Carter
The Lincoln Community Center has provided education and hope to children in Troy for 150+ years. The center started as a one-room schoolhouse for African American children. Today, it is a full-service community center for all people. Troy native, Shane Carter, grew up going to the Lincoln Community Center. He attended preschool, learned to swim, and played basketball. Today he is the director of the center. Since taking the position in 2011, he has made aesthetic improvements to the center and added new programs for the community.
On living in Miami County:
I was born and raised here in Miami County. My family is from Troy. My mother was born at Stouder Memorial Hospital. My father is from the Springfield area but lived in Troy most of his life. I have brothers and sisters that live in Miami County. I grew up two blocks away from the Lincoln Center. I’ve lived in Troy my entire life, except for when I went to school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I was there for about five years.
About the Lincoln Community Center:
The Lincoln Community Center started in 1865 as a one-room school house. It served the community in that capacity from 1865 to 1874. It was also used as a storage place. It was used by a black semi-professional football team called the Black Stockings and the Troy Fire Department.
In 1924 a man named John Spencer started planning for a community center on the site of the schoolhouse. In 1938 they broke ground with the support of John Spencer and WPA [Works Progress Administration]. The center has been funded by a blend of city and government funds. At first, it was used for the recreation of African American people. During the civil rights era, it transitioned into a center for people of all colors and demographics.
Today Lincoln Community Center is a full-service community center. We offer everything from swimming and basketball, to Zumba and yoga classes. We have a community garden and wood carving classes as well as dancing and art classes. We also use this space for an afterschool tutoring program for kids throughout Troy. The city of Troy owns the building and we’re funded through the United Way. We have a lot of stakeholders in the community that make this possible.
On his involvement with Lincoln Community Center:
I grew up coming to the Lincoln Community Center. I was here every day. I went to preschool here, learned how to swim and play basketball. When I came back to Troy from college I started working here every morning. I realized that this place was in dire need of a good leader. We were underutilizing the facility and space. That was something that was important to me. I wanted to bring the programs back to the community. I became the director of the center in 2011.
The Lincoln Community Center is needed as much as any other organization in our community. It provides hope for a lot of children and underprivileged youth. It also provides a safe haven for a lot of kids. It’s utilized by a lot of seniors for pickleball and water aerobics classes. Many people have told us that the Lincoln Community Center has saved their life through exercise. We have a gentleman that survived the West Nile virus who struggles with the use of his limbs. He uses the pool for therapeutic purposes. It’s one of the hidden gems of Miami County.
On the community response to recent changes and improvements at the Lincoln Community Center:
We’ve had great support from the community. Not only from the City of Troy but from the surrounding area. We’ve added a handicap accessible bathroom and we’ve updated our pool heating and filtration system. We’ve added many new things, the steps you walked up when you came here are new. We’ve done aesthetic work and cleaning of the facility, besides my office as you can see [laughs]. Everything else we’ve done a good job of taking care of it and cleaning it up. The response from the community has been awesome. People have come in and said “Wow! This place looks like night and day.” I’ve also heard “Man, I didn’t believe you guys could do this much in five years.” We’ve gotten great feedback from the community.
What he loves most about Miami County:
What I love most about Miami County is the wide range of things to do, especially outdoor activities. I love the Great Miami River and the Miami County Park District. There are a lot of places, like Johnston Farm & Indian Agency in Piqua, that elaborate on our history. The architecture of our buildings in the different downtowns is very unique. I have a lot of respect for our farmers and the agricultural side of Miami County. We have a lot of great activities and amenities. It’s a great place to live and to raise a family. It’s a great place to learn and have fun.
How Miami County is different from other places he has lived and visited:
The closeness of the people in Miami County is very different from Wisconsin and when I lived in the Chicago area. Everybody’s got a good approach to what our culture looks like. Because of that, there’s an expectation of carrying on a legacy of excellence. Excellent academics, the way we take care of our downtowns and the way that our parks are maintained.
His Miami County recommendations for out-of-town visitors:
If people are coming to visit they should take the time to get outdoors, walk downtown and see what’s going on. Hobart Arena, as it continues to grow, is special. They have the ice rink for skating, host concerts, and events. People can get on the bike path, check out WACO and the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center. There are a lot of things that capture the culture and history of Troy. People should check out the architecture of the Miami County Courthouse and other buildings in the area. We have a lot of great things as far as the parks and the bike trail, depending on the weather those are a great option.
The Lincoln Community Center can be rented as an overnight facility. If you’re coming with a large group you can use the facility as an overnight venue. We’ve hosted drum lines and people stayed here when the big bike marathon came through. You can buy a day membership to use our pool. It’s a heated in ground pool that’s well taken care of. You can come and lift weights or use the basketball courts. We are a place you can go to get some physical activity, even if you’re visiting. It’s a free gymnasium if you will. The only thing that we charge for is the pool. We also have a huge organic community garden that yields a lot of fresh vegetables every year.
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