Clarksburg WV


M.O.R.E. to Kick Off Kelly Miller Community Center Gymnasium Project


(Clarksburg, W.Va.) -- Thanks to the Harrison County Board of Education’s donation of the former Kelly Miller High School to M.O.R.E. (Monitcello Ongoing Revitalization Effort) through the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival, the building will be reimagined as the Kelly Miller Community Center.

The first phase of the Kelly Miller Community Center project will be the demolition of the extra interior walls and shelving in the gymnasium area that were built when the space was used for offices. Members of the M.O.R.E. committee and project partners will participate in a “sledgehammer ceremony” to officially kick off the Kelly Miller Community Center Gymnasium Project at noon Monday, Sept. 11, at the former school building.

“Creating the Kelly Miller Community Center in the heart of the Monticello Avenue neighborhood will become a focal point for development and engagement, and is one part of a much greater revitalization project,” said Elizabeth Shahan, Director of the Family Resource Network of Harrison County, a M.O.R.E. partner.

M.O.R.E. is a community-led effort in the City of Clarksburg focusing on imagining and creating public spaces for community connections; enhancing the visual appeal of the Monticello Avenue neighborhood; encouraging residents to dream bigger for the neighborhood and their own lives; and contributing to the reduction of drug-related activity in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood is defined as Main Street from South 2nd Street to Clay Street including all side streets on the south side of Main (including, but not limited to, Washington Avenue, Ben Street, Virginia Avenue and E.B. Saunders Way) to near the intersection of Haymond Highway and Monticello Avenue near the Elk Creek.

“I grew up here. I love our community and am committed to make our vision a reality. Together, we are doing M.O.R.E. We have already created a vibrant community garden, and driving down the streets you can see visible signs of the construction of affordable housing. There is a lot of potential here,” said Mateen “Tuna” Abdul-Aziz, a M.O.R.E. committee member and local resident.

The vision is that the Kelly Miller Community Center will house gym space for the community, locker rooms, a recreation center, a kitchen, a lounge area, classrooms, a heritage museum and space for tenants on the two top floors. Future programming being planned for the center includes: Project P2OWER (Promoting Positive Outcomes with Empowerment & Resiliency), a mentoring program for at-risk youth; low-cost community fitness classes; and life skills education courses.

Volunteer help will be needed for demolition work shifts during the week of Sept. 11-15 at the Kelly Miller building. Individuals or organizations who would like to help should call Elizabeth Shahan at (304) 423-5049, Mateen Abdul-Aziz at (304) 376-6493 or Jim Griffin at (304) 641-9963 to schedule a shift. Volunteers should wear hard-toed shoes, long pants and work gloves and are encouraged to bring hammers, sledgehammers, crow bars or other deconstruction tools. Respirators are recommended, as well as tetanus shots.

M.O.R.E. partners are the City of Clarksburg, FRN of Harrison County, the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival, Waste Management, the Harrison County Board of Education, the Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center, United Way of Harrison County, the Clarksburg-Harrison Regional Housing Authority, MVB Bank, Mountain Opportunities Corporation and Try This West Virginia.

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For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Shahan at (304) 423-5049

Mateen Abdul-Aziz at (304) 376-6493

Jim Griffin at (304) 641-9963