“A home away from home:” community center gets renovations

Saturday, a group of volunteers from Anderson Communities helped renovate Dunbar Community Center

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A community center is getting some much needed renovations.

Built in 1922, Dunbar Community Center was the original site of Dunbar High School before its de-segregation in 1967. People in the community say the high school brought the community together with its challenging academic curriculum and exciting athletics. Though the facility is no longer Dunbar High School, the space still remains a home away from home for people in the community.

Antonio Owens was just seven years old when he first stepped foot in Dunbar Community Center. Now, he brings his three sons to play basketball with him every weekend.

“Everybody, to me, it’s like everybody’s on the same page. You see a couple of new faces, but you also see old faces which makes it feel like home all over again,” said Owens.

Dunbar Community Center has been a light in its community for decades, providing a safe place for kids to go after school, offering tutoring programs, physical education, and opportunities to interact with other kids in the neighborhood.

Saturday, about 50 volunteers from Anderson Communities worked on renovations for the center, which included demolition, painting, and dry wall work. After Lexington experienced its 33rd homicide of the year, volunteers believe it’s a small step to continue the center’s legacy as a safe space in the community.

“As a parent myself, I know how important it is for children to have somewhere to go, a safe space, with supervision and with people who care,” said Anderson Communities volunteer Kristen McCollum.

The center hopes to convert some of the renovated rooms into a community recording studio and sensory spaces for kids with special needs.

“Anybody who has kids, and they don’t want them in the house playing video games all day, bring them to Dunbar Center. It’ll get you three or four hours. You won’t have to worry about gun violence, no type of violence whatsoever. If anything, you’re going to be around culture, good, proud people, you know what I’m saying? Good company,” said Antonio Owens.

The renovations project is in partnership with Anderson Communities, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and One Lexington.

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