After camping atop a south side motel roof for more than three months, Pastor Corey Brooks on Friday evening boarded a scissor lift and was lowered to the street and greeted by a celebratory crowd.
"Let me say thank you to everyone who has given so much support, those of you who have prayed, and those of you who have sent cards of encouragement, those of you who have sent emails and who have tweeted messages ... from the bottom of my heart... thank you so very much," he said after taking the mic moments later.
Brooks was on the roof for 94 days as part of a pledge to raise $450,000 to purchase the land and build a community center across from his New Beginnings Church in the 6600 block of South Martin Luther King Drive.
Actor-director Tyler Perry on Friday morning he would raise the remaining amount to help Brooks reach the goal and asked him to come down. He later upped his donation to an even $100,000. Another anonymous donor, described only as a Christian businessman from Chicago, kicked in $85,000 for the project.
The funds are phase one of the project, said Brooks. Another $15 million will be needed to build the community center.
Brooks left the roof only three times since the vigil began, most recently in January to officiate at the funerals of two teens killed in a shooting at a South Side Church's Chicken restaurant.
In January, Gov. Pat Quinn visited Brooks on his 56th day on the roof. After 92 days of camping out, Brooks was still short $98,000 from his goal and holding strong in his pledge to stay up there until the money was raised.
The intended community center is a part of Project H.O.O.D. (Helping others Obtain Destiny) and will feature mixed income housing, commercial spaces and the New Beginnings Church's "Master Academy."