Kinston after school program in jeopardy of losing its facility

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT)- An after school program in one Kinston neighborhood is forced to move due to the condition of the facility.

The program will now use another nearby recreation center. The program’s coordinator says it’s important for their location to remain the same.

Kinston community member and mother Brenda Gray says she wants better for her child and the other youth in Kinston.

In an effort to do that, she started an after school program this summer to keep kids off the streets.

“They got somewhere to go now, they got something to do, so a lot of kids look forward to coming here,” Gray.

The only problem is the facility. The Lovitt Hines recreation center has no heat, needs new windows, and is in desperate need of several other repairs.

Parks and Recreation director Bill Ellis says it was built in the 1930s and hasn’t been used for nearly 20 years, but now the city has to make a decision.

Ellis said, “The city is looking at do we need to renovate this facility and modernize it so it can be used, or do we need to just close the facility and have other recreation centers in the area.”

There are a number of recreation centers in Kinston, but program coordinators say having something in this area is key to stopping the violence.

“We don’t have on this side of town. We’re forgotten about, and we need it,” Gray said.

The recreation commission will make a recommendation about the future of Lovitt Hines, and then it’s up to the city council.

City Councilmember Robert Swinson said, “You have to weigh the pros and cons and see how you can financially do it without putting strain on the city or its residents.”

Swinson says anything helping kids is a positive thing and he would hate to see any facility that has been a shining star in the community close. He also says, the money to repair it has to come from somewhere.

As for Gray, she’s all about increasing the peace and says she would hate for this neighborhood to lose something else.

The program will use a nearby recreation center until the city makes a decision.

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