Officials have determined that the fire early this morning at the Carver Center was “intentionally set.”
Investigators working in conjunction with the Illinois Fire Marshal’s office have spent most of the day on the scene. Galesburg Area Crime Stoppers are asking anyone with information to call them immediately.
Jeannie Shelton is unsure where the Boys and Girls Club of Knox County is headed since the Carver Center was the home of the non-profit. Shelton is Boys and Girls Club of Knox County’s Chief Professional Officer and the Executive Director of the Carver Center.
For now, after school activities are being held at Cedar Creek Place and Woodland Bend housing authorities.
They haven’t met at the Carver Center in about eight weeks while work on a cracked beam and the roof was being done. On an average day 60 to 70 kids attend Boys and Girls clubs activities by Shelton’s estimate.
The cause of the fire is still unknown but to Shelton’s eye the damage looks severe.
She tells WGIL the Carver Center also has a rich history. It was a USO Center after being built in 1945.
“There’s a lot of history so there are some historical things in there,” Shelton says. “Some of the things we had already moved out due to the construction that was going on.”
Unfortunately, even though they have sites to meet, there’s no gym which is a big draw for the Boys and Girls Club.
“A lot of the kids of course come to do their homework and they have their Chromebook so they will have access to wi-fi because we’ve always provided wi-fi because not all the kids have wi-fi at home,” Shelton says.
City Council flirted with making the Carver Center the new Galesburg Community Center last year.
They instead granted the center $65,000 for repairs including for their boiler, furnace and air conditioning.