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Tuesday October 13, 2015
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Community Center Comeback



One of her first problems was fending off Waterloo Township. Hampton-Hawkins had moved the center's summer camp back to Main Street and sold part of the property on Clear Lake. "They [the township] said, if you're not using it, we're gonna tax it," Whiten recalls.

Instead, "we went out and cleaned it up." Volunteers from the city's field operations division cleared trees from the overgrown property, and members have maintained it ever since. "Now we go out there every year," says Whiten. "We grill burgers and meet the neighbors." She hopes to restore the camp's lodge as a retreat center for local groups.

Whiten's temporary appointment soon became permanent, and she moved on to other problems. Installing fiscal controls was straightforward; winning back donors' trust took longer. The agency launched a membership drive and organized a spring fund-raising gala, which this year generated more than $25,000. And it's been reaching out to the business community, attracting donations from companies as large as TCF Bank and as small as the Community Auto Wash.

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