Volunteer group wants new home for Cantonment community center

Volunteer group wants new home for Cantonment community center

In a red building near the corner of Webb and Washington streets, you'll find a meeting space and computer lab for 30 to 50 students five days a week.

"The bulk of what we do is try to enhance and assist the school," said Jim Allen Elementary School teacher Mary Holley-Lewis.

Longtime resident Holley-Lewis understands the need for a new community center in Cantonment.

"There's always been a need for a community center for the kids and the elderly," she said.

Much of the work at Carver Park has been spearheaded by the Cantonment Improvement Association (CIT). It's a group that concentrates their efforts to support children and families.

"They gave us a long-term and short-term goal paper and this is the year that was supposed to look forward to a community center and we still haven't heard anything," said CIT President Torry Lee.

The president said a new center could cost more than what is in their pockets.

"The county, Steve Barry, he is actually great; he is good with our team," said Lee . "He was here before he became a commissioner. He has been great every step of the way. Anytime we call they try to help us 100 percent, but it's bigger than them though."

Improvements to Carter Park began in 2014. It included a renovated community resource center, more parking spaces, volleyball court and a painted basketball court.

The group hoped the space on Muscogee Road would be the center's new home, but now they are back at square one.

Meanwhile, the president said the center's objective reaches far beyond typical programs for at-risk youth.

"We don't have nothing for them to do around this area half of the time and it'll put more people from the surrounding areas, too," said president

The group has begun a list of activities it would like to see started in Cantonment. Among the suggestions are men's and women's exercise classes, quilting, movie and game nights.

"The school system benefits because now you have a place where the kids are learning some things and being productive out of the classroom," Holley-Lewis said.

People who support the idea said they are eager.

"The key thing and what I find out is that parents care about their kids," Holley-Lewis said.

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