Community Center Project
Martinsburg Renew is a grassroots 501(c)3 non-profit intent on connecting and networking existing community organizations to remedy the social woes the city of Martinsburg is currently facing. Our mission: “Modelling the love of Jesus Christ in the community by providing opportunities for enrichment. Martinsburg Renew provides leadership for the establishment of a stronger and safer community through education, recreation, economic development, social activity, and support.” Our board of seven members is a snapshot of our community, being a mixture of men and women; Blacks, Whites, and Latinos; Democrats and Republicans; and pastors, police officers, municipal workers, addictions counselors, and community activists.
Martinsburg has a poor public image. According to an economic survey performed on Martinsburg in 2013, which was paid for by the city administration, the economic struggle and poor public perception were mainly attributed to homelessness and drugs, lack of any recreational or event destination, and lack of popularity with young professionals. With the national opioid epidemic, namely heroin, West Virginia is one of the worst affected states and Martinsburg is rife with heroin addiction. Having no local resources available to the drug-addicted, there is no immediate hope for those caught in addiction.
Almost every citizen in Martinsburg and Berkeley County is affected by the drug problem and lack of social activities. Substance users and abusers are not afforded the opportunity for help. Their family members and friends are forced to ride the emotional roller coaster with the addict. Healthcare and mental health industries are inundated by people struggling with addictions – be it the addict of a family member – and the physical complications accompanying it. Law enforcement, corrections, and the judicial system is inundated by addicts, wayward youth, and others who had no opportunity to enrich themselves through social and recreational programs.
Martinsburg Renew plans to tackle these issues with the establishment of the Martinsburg Interwoven Mills Community Center. The old Interwoven Mills property is approximately 7.4 acres with about 450,000 square feet of building space total. It currently holds three businesses: an antique store, a consignment shop, and a café restaurant that has opened in the last year. These only comprise about 10% 0f the total space.
The hopes are to purchase the entire property and renovate and repurpose it, which will cost an estimated $45 million. The pre-existing businesses will stay and be incorporated into a small business development center, which will focus on entrepreneurship and attracting other businesses to the Downtown area. Another section will become a social center to collocate and coordinate pre-existing community organizations as not to duplicate resources and, therefore, create competition for possible funding. Any nonexistent social, educational, and recreational programs and resources will then be offered at the community center. The third section, which is physically separate from the other two sections but on the same property, will become an addictions treatment center. This treatment center will utilize a year-long, residential, Bible-based program.
Martinsburg Renew will achieve this by networking with current community organizations, partnering with them in community education and outreach events. We will also raise funds through grant proposals, fundraising events, and sponsorships through corporate businesses and reputable philanthropic foundations. Throughout our endeavors, we will continuously poll the community to make sure we are addressing the appropriate needs and offering the appropriate solutions.
To download the full Proposal file, click here.