City Leader fights for youth center to keep kids off the streets

Posted at 11:47 PM, Mar 27, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--At the Broadrock Sports complex, the guys are on the court, playing a game of hoops.

It's just one way for them to deal with life's ups and downs.

"Kids out here need things like this and it would help them,” Montel Trent said. He thinks a community center would help-- a lot.  “Instead, of keeping them in the streets and stuff doing drugs,” he said.

One city leader agrees and is reaching out to keep kids from passing around something else.

"It's our responsibility to fill the boredom…to have somewhere for them to go,” Michelle Mosby, 9th District Council member, said.

Councilwoman Michelle Mosby wants to turn an empty space into a $3.6 million community center with a gym, indoor track, and computer labs.  She's hoping it will provide year-round activities for seniors and afterschool programs for kids.

So, do police.

"Anytime, you can engage kids and adults in productive endeavors, you're assisting in the effort of fighting crime,” Chief Ray Tarasovic, Richmond police said.” Healthy neighborhoods lead to crime free neighborhoods.”

CBS 6 researched the number of juveniles arrested in Mosby's district. According to Richmond police information, from 2008 to 2012 the number of arrests went down by 50 percent.

With that in mind, CBS 6 asked Mosby could that money be spent some place else in her district?

"I'm sure it could.  I just have to prioritize,” said Mosby.  "It doesn't say that our sidewalks are not necessary and it's not saying that I won't fight for them because we still got four--God blessed me with four years.”

Back on the court, these guys say they're happy that Mosby is fighting for them.

"You never know, you might be a football player, run track.  It would be a good experience for kids to go out and play,” said Richard Harris.

Mosby says she has the support from the city administration and her colleagues on Council to move this project forward.  City Council will decide on this project and others in May.

Two former 9th District City Council members prior to the Jones’ Administration tried to get this same project off the ground, but it failed because of funding.