Monday, November 22, 2010

Phillips bows out of community centers

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Eric Phillips, leader of the nonprofit Community Partnership Project, addressed City Council on Monday to say he was bowing out of partnership efforts for the Hillside and Deerfield Hills community centers.

Phillips cited a lack of support as the reason for his decision and left promptly after giving his speech.

The announcement seemed odd given that Council had recently directed staff to work with Phillips (and leaders behind a separate partnership planned for Meadows Park Community Center). The city was expected to turn over all the centers in the first quarter of 2011.

Phillips said his nonprofit would still be involved in helping the centers, but did not specify how.

Councilman Sean Paige, who worked closely with the CPP plan, told Council, “I’m disappointed, obviously, at this point.” He said he hoped the city would continue to work with partnerships to take over the centers.

The Independent has published two stories, most recently on Nov. 11, raising concerns about Phillips’ lack of experience running centers and the city’s willingness to hand over the centers, as well as taxpayer funds, to Phillips without vetting him first.

The city has budgeted enough money to keep Hillside and Deerfield running in 2011 at a greatly reduced rate — the centers plan to try and attract volunteers and donations to keep programs running.

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