• Uptown residents frustrated by closure of local community center

    By: Kody Leibowitz

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Uptown community members are upset and frustrated as a local community center remains closed. 

    Community members in Uptown told FOX13 on Friday that Greenlaw Community Center has been closed for a week. 

    PREVIOUS STORY: Magnolia Community Center closed for summer, different stories surface about building's future

    FOX13 reported this week that Memphis Athletic Ministries, the nonprofit that leases and manages Greenlaw and Magnolia community centers from the City of Memphis, closed the buildings because of funding issues. 

    As reported by FOX13, MAM has offered different stories to different people about the length of the closure. 

    “I’m riding down the street and see the gate,” Sharneca Taper said. “My kids want to come play basketball. So why didn’t they give us a date?”

    On Friday, dozens of Uptown residents, including Taper and her children, gathered in front of the closed building asking for it to re-open. 

    “I speak for the kids and we all want the gym to be back open because we all have a purpose in this neighborhood,” said Kyrion Cox.


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    Casio Montez, a community activist in Uptown, plans to at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. 

    “I couldn’t understand why they would lock the doors down in a community that needs this,” said Montez.

    Montez wants the City of Memphis to let the Uptown community lease the building, instead of MAM. 

    “If you gave it to MAM, give it to us. Let us have it,” said Montez. “Even if it’s not funded [to pay employees], I would get in here myself, personally, and work for free because these kids are what matters.”

    The City of Memphis had no official response Friday about Greenlaw but said that MAM told them they aren’t closing Magnolia. A spokesperson provided FOX13 a statement from MAM:

    "MAM is not closing the Magnolia community center.  We are having to restructure daily programming due to funding but are continuing to serve the Magnolia community at the Grizzlies Center and bus students to that location. We are also continuing to use the Magnolia Community Center with basketball team practices and our basketball league that is open to the entire city."

    The statement differs from three previous statements given to FOX13 on Wednesday.

    Those previous statements included a letter sent to the Magnolia community that utilizes the building, an in-person conversation MAM staff had with FOX13, and an apparent conversation between councilwoman Jamita Swearengen and MAM president Randy Odom.

    MAM did not respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.

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