Kasich, Coleman Break Ground On Reeb Avenue Community Center

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Governor John Kasich and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman announced plans on Wednesday for a multi-purpose community center on Reeb Avenue.

What was once an abandoned school building, will soon be an 18,000 square foot community center. The center will provide childcare, educational services, support services for families, as well as job training and workforce development.

In addition, 550 new jobs are coming to the neighborhood via Columbus Castings, the largest single-site steel foundry in North America.

Among the center's prospective tenants are the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus, Connect Ohio, Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation (COWIC) and South Side Learning & Development Center.  

Over $13 million dollars is being used to revive Columbus' South Side with $2 million coming from the state and a large amount of private sector donations.

Both Kasich and Coleman called the plan a "comprehensive effort," championing both each other and the various donors.

Coleman addressed the neighborhood that he said "had been neglected." With the unemployment rate in the area at 21 percent, poverty rate at 29 percent and 37 percent of adults without a high school diploma, Coleman stated, "we can't do this in the city of Columbus."

Kasich said he plans to take this funding model and implement it nationwide.

"The bottom line is, we are onto something great here mayor," he said. "I think it is so great that if we can make this work, this moves across country. You and I are going to take it across the country and we’re going to get the darn Republicans and Democrats to see that we can be unified and together on lifting people and give everybody a chance and hope in our country."

Jeff Wilson is a new resident in the area. He said the plans for a community center are a step in the right direction.

"From what I see, people do need help around here and this is what they need. They need a boost, someone who actually cares about the people in the neighborhood," Wilson said.

The center is set to open next summer.