Members of the M.O.R.E. committee and project partners will come together for “sledgehammer ceremony” to officially kick off the Kelly Miller Community Center.
The building was donated earlier this year by the Harrison County Board of Education to the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival, which is working with M.O.R.E. reimagine it as the Kelly Miller Community Center.
M.O.R.E. is a community-led effort focusing on imagining and creating public spaces for community connections, especially enhancing the visual appeal of the Monticello Avenue neighborhood.
Mateen “Tuna” Abdul-Aziz, M.O.R.E. committee member, said they wanted to start with the gym because it’ll be one of the biggest projects to do in the building. It’s also one of the most important parts.
“We have to find a way to give the youth in the neighborhood something to do besides getting in trouble,” he said. “Once we get the gym open, it’ll be a place for them to hang out, play ball and do different activities.”
M.O.R.E. has already added a community garden to the neighborhood, and it was a great first step, but it doesn’t offer constructive activities for youth, Abdul-Aziz said.
“The gym was used for storage and has shelving in it. We have to deconstruct that and get up the sub floor,” he said. “Once we get all that out, we can take a good look to see what it will take to get the gym done.”
After the gym, the committee will work on the classrooms in which it’s hoping to offer after-school programs, life skills courses, fitness classes and mentoring once the programs are up and running, Abdul-Aziz said.
Read more about the Kelly Miller Community Center from the Exponent Telegram and Victoria Cann below: