Federal grant comes to youth center’s rescue
Courtney Ridenhour (Charlotte Observer) | June 18, 2011
When county budget cuts shut down the Greenville Neighborhood Center last summer, the transitioning neighborhood just north of uptown felt abandoned.
“The county left our kids to the streets a little bit,” said Thomas “Pop” Sadler, president of the Greenville Neighborhood Association.
But the neighborhood center got new life Friday, thanks to a federal grant that allowed two youth crime-prevention programs to open new homes in the building.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Gang of One program and the Police Activities League charity will use the center to expand its services. The building includes a gym, classrooms and a kitchen, and sits in the heart of Greenville, a working-class neighborhood with crime and dropout rates higher than the city average.
Sadler said he wants to see how the center evolves and hopes it will be a refuge.
“Our kids need to be busy in that off time, so it would be a wonderful thing to give ‘em something to do, especially in their own neighborhood,” Sadler said. “It instills pride.”
On hand Friday, U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins praised the value of prevention.
“We cannot arrest our way to a safer community,” she said. “We have to put as much effort into prevention as we do into enforcement. That’s why these community partnerships are so key.”
Image credit: Charlotte Observer
Tags: crime prevention, Gang of One program, Greenville Neighborhood Center, Police Activities League charity