MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A local community center is falling victim to funding issues.
Esha Richmond says the Magnolia Community Center on Wabash Avenue has been a pillar in the community for generations.
"From me growing up, playing being in the gym, to my children growing up, playing in the gym,” said Richmond.
The center is run by Memphis Athletic Ministries, a nonprofit aimed at helping youth discover their identity in Christ and purpose in the Community.
MAM leases the Magnolia Center from the City, hosting after school programs, summer camps, bible studies and career readiness workshops.
Many of the kids who participate also attend to Magnolia Elementary. With that school closing and students moving to the new Alcy Elementary, MAM says changes need to be made.
In a statement, the organization said in part "MAM management determined that it would be best to serve those students at the MAM Grizzlies Center on 2107 Ball Road in the Alcy Ball neighborhood. We will provide these students with transportation every day after school."
"I think that it's a tragedy to see it close without something to replace it,” said Randolph Meade Walker, pastor.
Ralph Meade Walker, pastor of Castalia Baptist Church, says he’s working with community members to offer educational programs for youth in Castalia neighborhoods.
"It appears that the community center is part of the answer to some of the blight and problems that we have with our young people. It gives them something positive to do,” said Walker.
Richmond says she was planning to send her kids to the Magnolia Community Center this summer but will now have to make other arrangements.
"This a big part of the kids, this a big part of our community. This is our lifeline,” said Richmond.
MAM leaders say there are summer programs available this summer for Magnolia kids in elementary and middle school at the MAM Grizzlies Center, MAM Hamilton High School and MAM Bethel LaBelle in Orange Mound.
They encourage parents and children to come by the Grizzlies Center to get acquainted with the staff.
The Magnolia Community Center isn’t the only center impacted. The Greenlaw Community Center will also be re-purposed due to funding. MAM staff says from now on, it will be used only for sports practices and games.
MAM is working with Oasis of Hope at the Bickford Community Center to serve kids in the Greenlaw Community.
For more information about Memphis Athletic Ministries, click here.