CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A new community center in the Grier Heights neighborhood has breathed new life into an area once known for its crime. Several grants from private organizations totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars helped refurbish a building that was not in use.
Many believe the center will add value and a safe haven for the community.
"When you create a place like this," Community Advocate Will Adams said. "Somewhere for these people to go. Somewhere for these kids to go, the parents can come. It's beautiful."
The community center is the first for the area. It will house adult literacy programs, job services, tutoring, promote other educational programs and even be the place for birthday parties.
"Yes I do know this day was coming," Gloria Green said. "Didn't know when, but I knew it was coming. It's a great day in our community."
The opening of this community center comes after a deadly weekend in Charlotte. Five people were murdered in one weekend, including a seven year old. Many say the shootings serve as a wake up call.
"We have a problem," Adams said. "But it takes us as a community, us as leaders to come together and get a plan of action together. For me personally I am pushing for a mandatory curfew for 90 days."
Many believe to keep the Grier Heights neighborhood thriving, neighbors will have to protect it and not invite people who mean the community harm in.
"We pray for everything in this community," Green said. "It's covered."
The community center is open for business. This week a pre-school program will start and down the road a jobs program for adults.