UHURU has plans for old school

Published 12:03 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2009

JACKSON — While no decision has been handed down by the Northampton County Board of Education regarding any of their three closed school properties, one community development group already has plans for one school.

On Monday, the community development corporation, UHURU, came before the Board of Commissioners regarding the acquisition of the former Rich Square-W.S. Creecy Elementary property.

According to Anthony Clark, president and CEO of UHURU, the non-profit organization based in Rich Square plans to obtain the school and utilize it as a multi-purpose community facility “i.e. a neighborhood/community/recreation center.”

Clark noted the closure of several stores and businesses in the community. In his informational paper, Clark wrote the “residents of the town are being impacted by a high crime rate because there are no leisure activities…no safe havens for youths and adults to congregate and engage in cultural, artistic and wellness programs.”

“Rich Square is in distress and we need help,” he said.

UHURU is currently pursuing funding from numerous entities, including the NC Parks and Recreation Trust, the Rural Center and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds (stimulus money).

Clark said the town of Rich Square took no action when UHURU asked their board to submit letters of support and grant applications to support the development of the facility.

Eva Clayton and Associates have been assigned by the Rural Center to help UHURU with technical assistance in acquiring stimulus funds or other sources of funding.

Commission Chair Robert Carter thanked Clark for his presentation, but noted the facility is still in the Board of Education’s hands.

“Until the Board of Education makes a decision on the property this board cannot act,” he said.

Commission Vice Chair Fannie Greene suggested UHURU get in touch with the school system. Greene said the property may be leased soon.

Commissioner Virginia Spruill motioned to approve the county submitting a general letter of support for UHURU in an effort to access funding for the project; it was seconded by Commissioner Chester Deloatch.

The motion passed without objection.