Citizen run community center - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Citizen run community center

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) -

The Blandford community center has only been open for a day and it's already making headlines.

More than 200 people from the tri-cities area showed up at the grand opening.

The building on Wythe Street sat vacant for more than 20 years until founder Marlow Jones had a vision that it could be more. 

"To be able to do this community center so my kids can witness this, or other peoples kids can witness this, or kids that I have coached can witness this and be able to give back just like I'm doing now, it's meaningful," said Marlow Jones.

He's an assistant fire marshall in Petersburg and a life long resident. This center is his passion. He uses his own money to pay for the building and fund all the programs here. He gets no government help and he's not asking for any.

"Every two weeks I get paid, I take care of home and I'm broke the next day after I take care of the bills here," said Jones.

He says he refuses to pass on the cost to those who visit.

Kids and adults can come to the center and participate in any activity for free.

"This is what I am supposed to be doing as a man in my community. I have a responsibility to take care of my community," Jones said.

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly