The Clearwater Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center gallantly served Northern Pinellas County for over forty years by benefiting all ages of the community with a wide variety of programs including job placement and training, after school programs, counseling, computer training, literacy courses, summer programs for youth, and tutorial programs for all.
In 2011, the Center was closed due to the economic downturn.
Closing the Center was not acceptable to North Greenwood residents and a group of caring, concerned local citizenry came together and formed the Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center Coalition. Over the course of several years of building partnerships within the community, the Coalition membership expanded greatly, engaging many talented volunteers who were determined to build upon the successes of the hard-working coalition members in achieving the goal of restoring the Center as a beacon of hope in our community.
In 2019, we have again re-assembled to rebuild and re-fortify the Coalition.
It is important to have a complete picture of why the Center is so vital to the North Greenwood neighborhood and the surrounding community. While statistics do not offer the real-world examples of the volunteers who have been determined to work hard to turn around their neighborhood and numbers can't effectively describe the hope that we have seen in the eyes of the children able to take part in various gathering and events at the neighborhood center, we know this Center has filled a need for community residents.
Now, once again, Coalition members with a heart for service and a determination to make things happen will pursue the resources necessary to continue to once again build a strong community center.
A 2012 Clearwater Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, which targeted the North Greenwood area, found that 21.4% of North Greenwood residents 25 and older had no high school diploma, double the rate of the rest of the City of Clearwater; households receiving Public Assistance were 10.1% compared to 2.9% for City of Clearwater; 14.6% of households in the area receive Supplemental Security Income, and the childhood poverty rate is 40.5% compared to 18.8% for the City of Clearwater.
In 2010, The Schott Foundation for Public Education reported that Pinellas County graduated just 21 percent of African-American male students who had enrolled. The 2010 Census reported that the number of youths in North Greenwood who receive food stamps are the highest in Pinellas County, the population of North Greenwood residents living at or below the Federal Poverty Level is 25%, and the unemployment rate in the neighborhood is 11.9%. The Juvenile Welfare Board has reported that North Greenwood has the highest juvenile crime rate in the City of Clearwater.
Using the Center and its programs to specifically target these problems, the coalition intends to reverse these dismal statistics and bring a renaissance to our neighborhood.
Now, more than ever, it is vital to offer living examples of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We welcome all who wish to join our Coalition in our determination to ensure that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy will live on in our community.