Future of Shaw Community Center on shaky ground

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - When Karimah Jenkins was asked why the Shaw Community Center was so important to her neighborhood she didn't hesitate to answer.

"I've been going here for mostly my whole life and it's a fun place to be. Instead of kids being on the streets selling drugs or other things, they can be here and have fun," said Jenkins, a 7th grader at Burke Middle School.

Jenkins is like dozens of other students who have grown to love the Center like a second home.

"They see me come here almost every day and they're always smiling at me," said Anthony Hill, also a 7th grader at Burke Middle.

A year ago, the Boys and Girls Club was forced to close the Center because of a lack of funding. Shortly after the Maritime Foundation took over.

Now, the Maritime Foundation says it can't afford to manage the Center and the City of Charleston will have to take over.

"Like any government agency, we've been forced to try to do more with less. We can do that but, it may hurt a long term impact," said Phil Frandino, director of the Shaw Community Center and Maritime Foundation employee.

Frandino says the last thing the kids need is another unstable environment.

"They have a lot of change and hardships going on in their life. Having some place that's stable, that is consistent, that they know they can build relationships with on a more consistent basis than at home, is beneficial to any child," said Frandino.

On May 25th, the City of Charleston will take over the Shaw Community Center. Mayor Riley says he does not yet know how many employees will be kept during the{}transition but he hopes the{}process is seamless.