Building change: Ardmore community center in the works

(Source: Emily Landeen/WCIV)

By Stacy

WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCIV) -- At home and everywhere else, Ann Bonaventure and her son Matthew share a close bond.

They spend most of their time at their Ardmore apartment.

"We need a fantastic miracle in this neighborhood. We need a community center because we have a lot of kids that have no programs and very little playgrounds and after-school places to go," Ann Bonaventure said.

City officials have heard the calls from parents like Bonaventure.

"Historically, Ardmore has been a challenging neighborhood. Lots of crime was in that neighborhood," said Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen.

CPD has a special task force for Ardmore; it patrols and works with neighbors. Mullen said the task force is succeeding at reducing crime, and a community center would be the next step.

The city has partnered with Seacoast Church to build one on a small parcel of city-owned land in Ardmore.

"We're primarily focused on students," Pastor Ron Hamilton said. "We're trying to get some basketball leagues here. We really feel like the youth here in junior high and high school -- we can minister to them and create a place they can come and play basketball."

"We need to have a space that community can say is ours. They are being able to gather there. They're being able to have positive recreation," Mullen said.

The building would be for kids like 13-year-old Matthew Bonaventure.

"It'll keep the children away from the streets and all the negativity instead come over here and have a good time," Matthew Bonaventure{}said.

"Where we can just sit with them, be there for them, know where they can come if somebody's hurting them or so they have somebody to talk to," Ann{}Bonaventure said.

She saw endless possibilities for ways to utilize the center. And for Matthew and the entire Ardmore neighborhood, the sky would be the limit.

The city has authorized Seacoast to perform a feasibility study in the next four months. Seacoast officials hope to build the community center by the end of 2014.

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