New Youth Center Plans Underway for West Memphis

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (KAIT)- Through the trees is a building full of hope for the children of West Memphis.

In the near future the Neighborhood Center located at 1300 East Polk will become a new "youth center," making way for new opportunies while achieving one major goal.

"Giving them the alternative to a life in the streets, because with this center there are going to be many programs offered here where they can learn, become more productive, and see a different side of life," said Lorraine Robinson, City Coucilwoman.

And for a community that struggles to bring activities and hope to the lives of its children, this is a major step forward.

"Coming to this center is going to offer them so much, and I know we won't be able to change all, but if we can just change some," said Robinson.

Both Lorraine Robinson and Ramona Taylor are on the West Memphis City Council and say this project is one they are happy to bring to life.

"When we felt we could finally get some funding to maintain this kind of concept, then I think it excited all of us," said Ramona Taylor, City Councilwoman.

The funding for the new Youth Center will come partly from the state's Department of Human Services and partly from the City of West Memphis.

One of the things that makes this site so atrractive is that it backs up into one of the city parks with playground equipment and a cover of trees, giving kids an opportunity to get into the great outdoors to experience life at its fullest.

"We will try to focus on doing things for the children that are both fun and educational, motivational. Then we want to work with the families with the same kind of thing so that everybody can reach their potential, and not just the children," said Taylor.

And to make this reality possible will take the work of mentors, especially those who have overcome the worst to make it in life.

"They can come and give back to the community, and say look, I'm a product of this community. I turned out well. I want you to be encouraged. I want you to know that if I turned out well, the same can happen to you," said Robinson.

I'm told the new Youth Center will employee two full-time positions and will encompass about 10 teen mentors that the children can relate to.

It is expected that once funding is completely secured the new Youth Center will open sometime in July or early August.

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