Residents hope new gymnasium will bring peace, community to trou - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Residents hope new gymnasium will bring peace, community to troubled neighborhood

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In the last 10 years, Wayne Blakey Sr. has seen a lot of violence near his home on River Park Drive in West Louisville.

"There has been a lot of shootings and murders in this neighborhood," Blakey said. "Where we are standing there has at least been one murder or one shooting on every block within, you know, one block around us."

That's why Blakey is excited about plans to build a state of the art gymnasium in the neighborhood. It will be built on top of an existing basketball court in the troubled neighborhood.

A local pastor hopes it will be another tool to help end violence, while giving youth and seniors a place to go.

Rev. Barry Washington is pastor of Redeemed Christian Church at the corner of River Park and Amy. The gymnasium is a plan he has been trying to put into action for years.

"I'm tired of seeing people killing and you know, I understand the protests meetings and those different things but I believe in having a plan and putting things to action," said Reverend Washington. "Try to help meet the needs of the community through sports, through activities, through senior citizens because they get missed out on a lot here."

Just last weekend, Rev. Washington's church helped feed the community.

"It was cold, but we were outside, all of our church members that participated, nobody complained," he said.

He says the gym will help continue the work being done in the community, especially during the winter months.

"It was about 250 meals, everything was free and we just stood out here and froze and gave out food until it was gone," Rev. Washington said.

In addition to feeding the community, Washington also helped get this basketball court built several years ago, but it hasn't been easy...a few weeks ago, the church had to replace two heating units that were stolen.

"It was sad because the same people that are stealing from us are the same people we're trying to help," Rev. Washington said.

Blakey is a single parent and says he appreciates the help.

"Because that's one of the safest places where when I would go to work, I would send my children down here when they first started out, I would send them down here to the church when I know you know that they're in a safe place ones they're here," he said.

Right now, the plan is to break ground on the gym in June of 2015.

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