West Dallas Neighborhood Fights to Save Bataan Community Center

The community center is in a state of disrepair and is up for sale for $10 million

The Bataan Community Center sits in the heart of an old West Dallas neighborhood and has been a gathering place for decades. Wednesday was no different.

"We're here today to bring to light a tragedy," community activist Sylvia Lagos said.

Neighborhood residents came with protest signs, to try to call attention to their efforts to save the Bataan Community Center.

"We're here to save a community," said Gloria Lopez, director of the Trinity River Mission. Lopez grew up in the La Bajada neighborhood where the Bataan Center is located.

"We're here to save a place that has meant the world to us," she said.

The community center is in a state of disrepair, and now it's up for sale for $10 million by the Lucious Williams Foundation.

Williams was a board member on the not-for-profit that used to be called the West Dallas Community Center, before a sudden name change to the Lucious Williams Foundation.

"They just filed this form with the secretary of state," said Mandy Watkins with Beyond Baseball Youth Association, which leases the community center. "Now on paper, they're the owners."

Community members claimed the nonprofit has not reinvested back into the neighborhood.

Monday afternoon, residents took their protest from the community center to the office of the Lucious Williams Foundation on Mockingbird Lane, where they were denied entry. From the sidewalk they chanted, "where is the money."

"Right now, our children are playing in the streets," said Maria Lozada Garcia, president of the La Bajada Neighborhood Community Association. "We need to have the Bataan Center back in our hands."

NBC 5 called Lucious Williams' office and was referred to Williams' attorney, who as of Wednesday evening, had not returned a call for comment.

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