Leonard D. Jackson Ken Gar Center Rec. Center (Photos & Video)
A ceremony was held on Jan. 25 renaming the Ken Gar Community Center in Kensington in honor of the late Leonard D. Jackson, a longtime resident and community activist in the Ken Gar community. The remodeled Leonard D. Jackson Ken Gar Neighborhood Recreation Center is located at 4111 Plyers Mill Rd.
Jackson was a founding member of the Ken Gar Civic Association in 1959 and served as its president for more than 20 years. He worked tirelessly with Montgomery County Government to make Ken Gar the County’s first urban renewal program.
Dedicated to public service, he served on both the Maryland Commission of Human Relations and the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission, where he was a strong advocate for strengthening anti-discrimination laws. Jackson also served on the Montgomery County Landlord-Tenant Commission, the Montgomery County Committee on Community Action and the Montgomery County Citizens Committee.
In the early 1990s, he was the African American Liaison to Montgomery County’s Chief of Police. For his dedication to the advancement of human rights in Montgomery County, he was inducted into the County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2002.
“It is a pleasure to honor the many contributions made by Leonard D. Jackson by naming the Ken Gar Community Center in his memory.”
County Executive Isiah Leggett continued, “Jackson lived a short distance from this center and worked tirelessly in pursuit of improved housing and educational opportunities for members of the community.”
In serious disrepair, the center that was last renovated in 1978, has been turned over to the County’s Department of Recreation which plans to develop an after-school and summer program, as well as senior activities for members of the Ken Gar community.
Renovations to the center included both interior and exterior improvements, upgraded heating and air conditioning systems, and alterations to make the building ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. The entire cost of the renovations was approximately $325,000, with $100,000 coming from a State grant.
“I am happy to welcome the Leonard D. Jackson Ken Gar Center as our newest facility,” said Recreation Director Gabe Albornoz. “The renovations have greatly improved the facility and allow for the continuing tradition of the center to be an inclusive gathering place for the whole community to enjoy.”
“We are proud to play a role in the rich history of the Ken Gar community by returning to our neighbors a refurbished and improved community center that will continue to serve as a valuable resource for years to come,” said Department of General Services Director David Dise.
Jackson family members in attendance included;
- Barbara Jackson (Wife)
- Debra Jackson (Daughter)
- Karen Jackson (Daughter)
- Andrea Hopkins (Granddaughter)
Elected officials attending the ceremony included;
- Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Executive
- Phil Andrews, Councilmember, District 3
- Nancy Floreen, Councilmember, At-Large
- Nancy Navarro, Councilmember, District 4
- State Senator Richard Madaleno
- State Delegate Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher
- State Delegate Alfred Clinton Carr, Jr.
- Town of Kensington Mayor Peter Fosselman
Several community representatives also attended including Reverend Carl Davis, Reverend Mary Newton, Reverend Mary Dorsey and memebers of the Ken Gar Civic Association.