When city and state government officials sat down with leaders of the Kingsley Association -- the community service organization in Lincoln-Larimer) and state Rep. Joe Preston six years ago, they agreed that the 12th ward of Pittsburgh's East End was long overdue for a recreation center. (See News Feature: "New Pool of Resources," Dec. 17, 2003.) The solution was a $7.8 million facility with swimming pool, gymnasiums, classrooms and computer labs. But government officials left that table without paying their portion of the bill. Kingsley's efforts to raise $6 million from private investors has been stymied in the process, and it opened Preston, an East Liberty Democrat, to a challenge by former aide Ed Gainey.
In early April, the state came through with its contribution, hand-delivered by Gov. Ed Rendell. The city has also anted up. State Sen. Jim Ferlo got the legislature to kick in $60,000 for the center's technology center and computer lab. A volunteer group, Friends of the Kingsley Association, is seeking more funds to secure the organization's endowment fund and operating expenses, kicking off their campaign April 15 at Ramsey's II banquet and convention center in Homewood.