Chicago's Pastor Corey Brooks comes down from rooftop, breaks ground on community center

Chicago's famous "rooftop pastor" Corey Brooks came down from the rooftop after 343 nights to break ground on a new community center in Woodlawn.

"Eleven months ago we had zero dollars to build a community center. But now here we are, eleven months... and we have $20 million," Brooks said.

With his feet back firmly on the ground, Brooks and a group of business and political leaders performed the ceremonial groundbreaking. For almost a year, Brooks had been sleeping on a rooftop to raise money and awareness to build the 89,000-square-foot leadership and economic opportunity center at 66th and King Drive, across the street from Brooks' New Beginnings Church.

"I'm grateful God gave you the vision," said Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th).

The center will have classrooms, community rooms, restaurants, a gym and a swimming pool.

"We're striving to bring the community together to end the gun violence, and bring services to the community," Brooks said.

The total cost of the project is $35 million, which means Brooks will need to raise another $15 million before the center can be completed. 

He said he decided to go ahead with construction anyway, and believes it will be fully funded by the time it's ready to open in two years.

 "We decided we wanted to go forward because it's the perfect time," Brooks said. "People really need the assistance. We really need the help. And we really want to see transformation take place. So there's no better time than right now."

Ten years ago pastor brooks slept on a rooftop for nearly 100 days to raise enough money to tear down a crime-ridden hotel, which is now the site of the community center.