A new school brings new hope for one community in the east end.
The construction of Martin Luther King Junior Middle School isn't just for students. The complex is meant to be a community center as well.
Saturday morning, neighbors weighed in on what services they'd like to see offered there. Many ideas are brewing, and some are already being put into action.
A health clinic for residents is on the table, as well as programs offered by nearby universities and theater centers, job training for young adults and a comprehensive after-school program.
Richmond City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson of the 6th District says the Eastview neighborhood has traditionally had a challenging environment. She says children have grown up in public housing, near the city jail and a homeless center.
"This was forced upon the community," said Robertson. "The community never embraced this. However, they've lived with it for years."
The new MLK Middle School under construction promises opportunity for students and people living nearby.
"There is a jewel that is being built in their community with excellent services and community opportunities," described Robertson of the budding facility.
Neighbors are being encouraged to give their opinions on the implementation of resources.
"…to ensure that residents of Mosby, Whickham and Eastview are included in the planning, the discussion and use of those services," continued Robertson.
A number of people in the community said that they'd like to see job training offered as a priority at the community center.
"A GED class and a computer class so people can have more computer skills," suggested Sherry Carter Holman, who lives a few blocks from the school construction site.
"Help kids try to find jobs, keep them on track …Help the community be a better community," said another neighbor, Shanequa Cole.
Councilwoman Robertson also says there's an extra $750,000 in the city budget for other improvement projects in the Eastview area. She's asking for input on how that money should be spent, as well.
The first phase of the school is set to be completed in January of 2014.
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