Eurma Hayes Center police resource center reaches temporary standstill

Volunteer+Janet+Lilly%2C+75%2C+sits+for+a+portrait+Tuesday%2C+February+2+at+the+Eurma+Hayes+Center+in+Carbondale%2C+Illinois.+Lilly+said+the+substation+will+be+a+good+addition+to+the+Eurma+Hayes+Center.+%E2%80%9CPeople+like+to+feel+secure+and+when+you+feel+secure+you%27ll+come.+When+you+feel+insecure+by+whatever+it+is+causing+that+fear+you%27re+not+going+to+come+in+fear+of+but+I+feel+the+substation+will+provide+some+sort+of+security%2C%E2%80%9D+she+said.

Madison Taylor | the.madisontaylor

Volunteer Janet Lilly, 75, sits for a portrait Tuesday, February 2 at the Eurma Hayes Center in Carbondale, Illinois. Lilly said the substation will be a good addition to the Eurma Hayes Center. “People like to feel secure and when you feel secure you’ll come. When you feel insecure by whatever it is causing that fear you’re not going to come in fear of but I feel the substation will provide some sort of security,” she said.

By Janae Mosby, Sports Reporter

The recent revitalization of the Eurma C. Hayes Center has recently been one of the top issues of conversation in the Carbondale community.

The ECHC is located at 441 E. Willow St. and it was started by Carbondale activist Eurma Hayes. 

Some citizens in the community are against putting a police resource center into the ECHC because of the deep-seated mistrust of the police.

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“The whole northeast side of Carbondale isn’t even two Chicago blocks, there is no need for a substation there,” William Koine, a grandchild of Eurma Hayes, said in a Facebook post.

The Daily Egyptian spoke with the director of the Hayes Center, Bob Wills, on Feb. 1 about the substation, and since then, there has not been any progress.

“We had a meeting with the opposition group. We talked about many things, we talked about how to compromise. There is nothing really happening on it right now,” Wills said.

Carbondale Police Chief Stan Reno said the city is waiting to see what the desire of the Hayes Center board and the interested citizen groups is and how they want to proceed.

“There are still lots more discussions that are taking place, but I think ultimately there is so much work that needs to be done on the center,” Reno said.

The Southern Illinois Unity Coalition held a Zoom Webinar on Feb. 20 with Wills to ask questions about what he wants to do with the Center.

“There are a lot of people who have expressed their not wanting a police substation inside of the Center. Also, the number of people on the police force is 2 to 1 to Carbondale residents,” Co-founder of the Unity Coalition Emerald Avril said.

Avril said there is a heavy police presence on the northeast side and she asked why it is necessary to have them in the Center which is located on East Willow Street. 

“What I feel is trying to heal the community and you cannot heal the community being divided,” Wills said.

Wills said the intent of the meetings they have been having is how the community members living in the east side of Carbondale can start to trust the police department.

“I have asked many community people what they thought, I’ve talked to people who were pro and con on some things they would like to see happen,” Wills said.

Wills said he expects to have the ECHC open and ready for the community in late March or early April.

The ECHC was constructed in 1974 and it used to house many businesses inside of its walls, one of them being a daycare. The center started to lose tenants and with that they lost a lot of revenue.

In 2010, the City of Carbondale defunded the daycare and it was bought by the Eurma C. Hayes Center, Inc. 

The budget for the Carbondale Police department is $10,535,677 in 2021.

The ECHC had to rely on donations and tenant rents to cover the expenses. In 2012, donors raised over $4,000 for utilities. 

Staff reporter Janae Mosby can be reached at jmosby@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @mosbyj.

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