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Bill Capo / Action Report

NEW ORLEANS -- Fried fish, mac & cheese and peas filled the lunches sold last Friday by the backers of the Keller Center. As part of their plan to re-open the long closed recreation center, they sold the lunches to raise funds for the team they expect to see playing at this Central City location.

'The money going to be for the equipment, for the team, for the eleven players that I already have,' said Keller Center Leader Keith Hudson.

The fish fry was born from an idea in an Action Report in January, when Keith Hudson got in touch with me about reopening the Keller Center, saying it was vital to this community, and from there, it took off.

When city leaders toured the long closed center, they could see how it could become a community centerpiece.

'I'm extremely excited,' smiled NORD Commission Chairman Roy Glapion. 'I mean just to be able to take a piece like this from an idea, a dream, and move it in the right direction, it's a good feeling.'

They figure it will cost $800,000 to re-open the Keller Center, and are considering two funding methods, one public and one private.

'FEMA dollars that may be allocated, and/or private individuals who have stepped up and said we want to help,' explained Glapion.

So they are planning a new Keller Center with a dance studio, community center, learning center, and computer lab. Keller is now seen as the new method to restore city parks.

'When we get this done, there's so many other, I've learned, so many other properties that are in the same condition, the same state, that we can use this model and actually revitalize them as well,' said Glapion.

'I see a neighborhood coming up, I see children playing, I see a reduction in crime, I see people having something to do,' predicted Hudson.

'It would be nice for the children,' pointed out Central City resident Tina Smith, as she paid for her lunch. 'They don't really have too many things going on for the kids.'

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