Greenville Co. Council says partnership with Phillis Wheatley Co - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville Co. Council says partnership with Phillis Wheatley Community Center in the works

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Children are pictured playing at the Phillis Wheatley Community Center on Wednesday. (FOX Carolina 2/3/2016) Children are pictured playing at the Phillis Wheatley Community Center on Wednesday. (FOX Carolina 2/3/2016)

A partnership is moving forward to help the Phillis Wheatley Community Center in Greenville continue to operate and increase its stability, according to Executive Director Darian D. Blue. 

A Greenville County Council member confirms discussions are taking place to partner with Phillis Wheatley, but say there are still more specifics that have not been decided such as the legal structure,  the advisory board and land transfer.  The center is located in the city of Greenville and Blue says it is an historic and vital part of the community. It was founded in 1919 by Hattie Logan Duckett, and has been a central community location for nearly 100 years.  

In recent years, the facility started showing its age and has been in need of major repairs.  Two years ago, Blue even took to “living on the roof” for eight days to bring awareness to the needs of the aging building and a call to action for community donations.  We asked him why the center was so important to the community. 

"We provide a home away from home, this is a safe haven, this is a shelter for a lot of these kids, not just to stay out of the streets, but we're building them," Blue said.

According to the PWA website, The Phillis Wheatley Association (PWA) is a non-profit organization that is focused on community, helping under-served youth and their families through education, health, recreation, creativity, and community involvement.  PWA has been in the Greenville community for decades.  PWA programs include summer camp and after school care, the Dwight Woods Repertory Theatre and added an iSTEAM program two years ago featuring science, technology and math to its summer camp.

"In order for our children to succeed in the 21st century they have to have educational resources that will allow them to compete with other students in other communities, in other states, in other countries," said Blue. "Overall, it is the focus and goal that this particular center becomes a cutting edge 21st century learning environment that will allow our community, the low-income children that we serve, the opportunity to compete on every level educationally in the state of South Carolina."

No date has been determined to cement the new partnership, but some members of the community have expressed concerns about the future structure and ownership of the Phillis Wheatley Center.  

“If this facility is not here," Blue explained, "Then you will have over 200 kids in the streets with absolutely nowhere to go.”

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