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As celebrations go, this one was something special. On a beautiful, sunny Friday evening, amid the aroma of good food and the sounds of live music, a happy crowd of dignitaries representing over 80 community-based organizations gathered in the courtyard of the former Pargo Manor to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center (NTAC), the University of Illinois' outreach office in East St. Louis.
In 1996, the University's East St. Louis Action Research Project opened the NTAC office in a windowless space behind a convenience store on Collinsville Ave. At the time there were two staff persons in the small crowded office. Over the next five years the demand for services grew, a third staff person was added and representatives of two other non-profit organizations occupied cramped quarters.
On the evening of September 21st, NTAC's 5th Anniversary Celebration doubled as a Grand Opening of its new office at 527 Washington Place, a beautiful sunlit three story Victorian house that was a regional favorite bed and breakfast facility. Guests toured the offices on the upper floors and the lower level computer- training center.
The evening began at five with appetizers served in the outdoor court. NTAC Director Cathy Klump, Community Planner LaTonya Webb, and Community Design Specialist Craig A. Miller, Sr. welcomed their guests and reviewed the highlights of the last five years. Over 80 organizations have been served in neighborhoods throughout East St. Louis and surrounding communities. List of Community Based Organizations.
Director Klump and colleagues passed out Certificates of Appreciation to representatives of NTAC's community partners in recognition of their sustained efforts at community revitalization. Klump also gave Certificates of Appreciation to organizations that provided funds to operate NTAC over the last five years.
Miller and Webb then surprised Klump by announcing that the evening's celebration was also intended as a tribute to the retiring NTAC Director. ESLARP Director, Robert Selby, presented Klump with its own Certificate of Appreciation in praise of her tireless efforts. Representatives of all organizations lined up to give her a hug or a hand shake conveying best wishes for her future work in Chicago. UIUC faculty and staff present included Selby, ESLARP Chair Paul Adams, former ESLARP Director Varkki George, School of Architecture Director Michael Andrejasich, Cindy Geerdes from Law, ESLARP Technology Coordinator Deanna Koenigs, and ESLARP Research Assistants Janni Sorensen, and Jassen Johnson.
Klump then invited NTAC's guests to enjoy a buffet dinner catered by Mrs. Douglas Anderson. Throughout the evening live music was performed by Bobby Williams & Company, with Selby sitting in on trumpet and flugelhorn. Bob joins the Band (quicktime movie) | Amensua's Dance (quicktime movie)
Photos by Deanna Koenigs - Technology Coordinator and Varkki George, East St. Louis Action Research Project
Document author(s) : Robert
I. Selby, AIA, Director, East St. Louis Action Research Project
Last modified: 08 November 2001, Deanna Koenigs