There is a proverb that it takes a village to raise a child.
Despite uncertainty over where the proverb originated, the meaning is as important today as ever.
Right now the proverb clearly has relevance to Anderson and the ongoing controversy surrounding the establishment of a youth center by former Anderson Township Trustee John Bostic.
When first elected to the office in 2014, Bostic wanted to start an after-school program for children that would provide educational and recreational opportunities, hot meals and give working parents a safe haven for their children.
The Youth Center opened in 2016 when Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. agreed to lease the former Army Reserve Building on Madison Avenue to the Anderson Township Trustee’s office for 50 years at a cost of $1 per year.
Although Bostic had excellent motives behind the concept, there were mistakes made along the way.
There was no clear funding mechanism for the Youth Center operations outside of poor relief funds.
At the outset of the Youth Center's formation — certainly before the doors opened for programming — a not-for-profit should have been established.
A board of directors consisting of established community leaders should have been put in place and then directed Bostic to oversee the operations while the board handled the financing.
That didn’t come until 2017.
Meanwhile, a $2.2 million field house was built with no revenue stream to pay off the bonds.
Broderick has provided the Youth Center with more than $200,000 in recent years for the operation; Madison County has also provided funding.
Since it started, the Youth Center has sought tax dollars to fund the program.
In the 2018 election Bostic, a Democrat, lost the township trustee's office to Republican Mike Shively.
For the past five months the two men have clashed over a potential lease of the space for the Youth Center and who controlled the facility, which is owned by the township.
It's hard to believe an $80,000 grant from the state is in jeopardy because the two men couldn’t agree on the installation of a telephone line.
Shively started negotiating a lease with the Youth Center board, and he even promised one would be finalized by the end of May.
Now the Youth Center board is dissolving on July 18. Bostic’s Youth Center will close or have to find a new location, and Shively plans to start his own program.
At a community meeting last week, it was stated the community doesn’t care about its African-American children.
There is little merit to that statement. Rep. Terri Austin has stepped in to try and have the state grant reinstated and is seeking a new location for the Youth Center. Broderick has provided funding and made it clear months ago the city money was tied to Bostic’s program.
While adults are butting their heads and making unreasonable demands on both sides of the issue, the children are the real losers.
The community needs to come together and provide opportunities for all the children of our village.
Senior Reporter Ken de la Bastide’s column publishes Sundays. Contact him at email@example.com or 765-640-4863.