New Hispanic center almost complete

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Hispanic population is growing, along with the need for resources.

The site of a new Hispanic Community Services Center is currently under construction in Jonesboro.

Located at the corner of Cate and Vandyne, the new center will be twice the size of the current one.

Director Gina Gomez of the Hispanic center said they provide a lot of different services.

"We provide services in five areas," Gomez said. "Socially, legal, educational, culture and health for the Hispanic community. But also in general, for the community and Northeast Arkansas."

Gomez said it's about helping others.

"This is a place where they can get services," Gomez said. "We provide these service in order to improve their quality of life. In order for them to receive information for educational programs, or for them to come and ask questions because they need advice and that's what they can find at the Hispanic center."

Gomez said with the Hispanic population steadily increasing, they've needed a larger facility for some time.

"The Hispanic community has been growing in the last year," Gomez said. "The facility that we have right now where we are providing services is not large enough anymore for the services we are providing. We have conflicts with schedules for classes. There are some other services we can not provide in the facility we are operating in today. So, there was a need to build a new facility or add to the current one. So, we decided to build a new one."

Santiago Baz is a member of the Hispanic community who volunteered his time to work on site of the new facility.

Baz said the Hispanic Center means a lot to him.

"I wanted to come and help the Hispanic Center," Baz said. "Because they already support the community. It's a big help for us. We get help for translations and interpretations. It helps us to be understood in the community."

"We know by the services that we provide," Gomez said. "The Hispanic community is going to continue growing. So, we have different partnerships. We are not just serving the Hispanic community, but in general the Jonesboro community and in order to better serve them we need more space."

Alhassan Fofanah is from Spain and now living in Jonesboro.

Fofanah also volunteered time to work on site of the center's new location.

Fofanah said the Hispanic center is making a huge difference in people's lives.

"I'm now living in Jonesboro," Fofanah said. "I'm a Spanish speaking person. So, I feel it's important that I work and help to be a part of this community. Working for this Hispanic center has meant a lot because it has helped the development of the community. You can turn Spanish to English and English to Spanish. So, that's why I come to give my support."

Gomez said there are around 6,000 Hispanic people in Jonesboro and around 12,000 in the Craighead County area.

"That number is expected to grow in the coming years," Gomez said. "We have new families coming to the area. So, this is why it is very important to have organizations like the Hispanic center in this area."

Gomez said construction is on schedule.

The new center will be twice the size of the current one and they've left room to grow.

"We have the ability to expand in the future," Gomez said. "We have large areas outside where we are going to have a playground. We are also going to be able to hold all of our events here in the new facility, like the Hispanic Celebration in May and things like that."

They are supposed to move into the new location the last week of August and open it to the public in September.

For more information about the Hispanic Community Services Center in Jonesboro, click here.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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