Petersburg’s only community center in danger of closing

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg’s only community center may be shutting its doors, largely due to the city’s money problems. Recently, the City of Petersburg cut the pay of all employees by 10 percent.

One of those employees is a fire marshal who funds the Blandford Community Center with his own money but can no longer afford it.

“It costs to get a boxing license with USA boxing. It costs to buy uniforms for those kids. It costs for fitness and basketball for the five basketball teams. It costs for the lights. It costs for the water. It costs for overhead,” said Marlow Jones.

Jones he says he thinks closing will devastate the city’s kids and is calling on the community to help keep the center open.

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“Stop by. I have got a donation box. Drop a dollar in. Drop 50 cents in. It does not matter what it is because anything can help,” said Jones.

Carolyne Banks told 8News her grandchildren frequented the Blanford Community Center because it gave them something to do and kept them off the streets and out of trouble.

“My grandson just loved the activity that was going on there. He needed a positive role model in his life and this was it. This provided that for him,” said Carolyne Banks.

“We can’t operate on hopes. We can’t operate on let’s wait and see what happens. We have to take care of our own.” — Marlow Jones

Jones says some people donate to the center but many don’t. He says all it takes is for everyone to give what they can.

“We can’t operate on hopes. We can’t operate on let’s wait and see what happens. We have to take care of our own,” said Jones.

“My dad and mom always told me and a lot of my elders always told me you belong to your community and your community belongs to you,”Jones added.

The Blanford Community Center opened on Wythe Street 2 years ago. Jones says the center only has enough money to stay open through September. Donations can be made via GoFundMe or by visiting any Wells Fargo Bank.

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