Neighborhood prepares for new community center

Sunday, March 9th 2008, 11:27 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

Residents in a northeast Oklahoma City neighborhood are looking forward to opening a new community center.

A $2.5 million grant from the Department of Justice's Weed and Seed Program is funding the renovation of a vacant grocery store near NE 36 and Kelley Avenue into a community center.

The size and location was what the Rev. Lee Cooper and the Oklahoma City Safe Community Coalition were looking for to make "a friendly one-stop-shop place where we can address all social ills that concern our community."

Cooper said one of the group's biggest concerns is crime. The neighborhood is no stranger to deadly violence, he said.

City Councilman Skip Kelley says the center will be staffed with representatives from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

 "This is what we talk about, saving lives, saving the community and saving families," Kelly said.

The center may also host worship services, after-school activities for kids and other public services that Vanessa Wallace and her family will use.

"I'd love to get my child to participate in something like this," Wallace said. "I think it'll be good."