West Hill receives $2 million for a new community center

A new community center is coming to West Hill.

The project received $2 million in federal funding from the Federal American Rescue Plan.

Albany City Council members Jahmel Robinson and Joyce Love pitched the idea for a new community space in West Hill to Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

“People like to have a house,” Sheehan said. “They like having a place where they can go regularly, that they know what services they know they will be able to access.”

The $2 million will be used to pay for the design and acquisition of the land.

They hope to find a location and innovate within 18 months. The city is looking for community partners to team up and host in the new space.

“Once you’ve built a community center like this, thinking about all the different ways it can be used is something we really want to make sure we plan for so we can build something that’s going to be for people. ages and it will not be taken away,” Sheehan said.

Board members will continue discussions with residents to lock in the programs the center will offer.

Joyce Love is hoping for much-needed services for the elderly.

“Getting my seniors out is very important to me because especially in the last two years most of our seniors have been stuck at home, in senior residences with nothing to do so it’s very important to me, and on top of that, I’m an old person,” Love said.

Robinson remembers the impact the Arbor Hill Community Center had on him as a child.

“I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the mentorship, it wasn’t for the community center’s sense of community, I would have been the person I am today,” Robinson said.

After advocating for funding since being elected four years ago, the couple said winning this grant proves that others who want to make a difference in their community can.

“To finally be in a position after growing up in the same community, to make it happen is literally a dream come true for me,” Robinson said.

Jill E. Washington