Group works to resurrect Pulaski's historic T.G. Howard Center

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PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ7)— A group of volunteers in Pulaski is working to resurrect a historic building.

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For more than 40 years, the T.G. Howard Center united folks in the African American community until it closed around 2012.

“Pretty much every event that was important in our community outside of the churches was held here,” said board member Lisa Johnson.

“It was open to the community and not limited to its focus, so you could do almost anything,” said board member Rebecah Smith.

What once served as a hub for the community is now a little overgrown. But in the last year, a group of board members has made it its mission to bring it back to life to serve its purpose once more.

“So we thought, why reinvent the wheel?” said board member Guy Smith. “It’s still there; let’s get together and see if we can get a group together and meet some of these needs and revitalize something that’s such a historical significance to the community as a whole and specifically the African American community.”

The community broke ground on the facility in 1965 when YMCAs were segregated, but Rev. T.G. Howard had a vision.

“He wanted a facility that would meet the needs of all children and their families, regardless of their socioeconomic status, their race,” Guy said.

It was also the center of many community celebrations and gatherings. Even minority women led their own groups.

“If they could accomplish something this great to serve the community then this is not too hard of a task for us either,” Guy said.

While mostly cosmetic work remains, the board hopes to re-open T.G. Howard this calendar year. Smith said the Town of Pulaski helped tremendously by cutting back the overgrown landscaping.

The group has already re-started programs like interviewing local candidates with a mission to continue to help all.

“When you live in a community where there’s a lot of poverty around, a lot of times it’s because folks don’t know any different and don’t have access to any education needs or skills, so I’m hoping that through this center we can connect folks,” Rebecah said.

They plan to put an updated spin on a historic site.

The center is at 320 Altoona Rd.

Everything is donation based. If you would like to learn more information about the center or how to donate, follow this link: https://sites.google.com/view/tghowardcommunitycenter/?fbclid=IwAR01qUTUag9beVuJcsSlmscnWBINyBuMuJtnckCs2cGRZz_-dfr8dIQcXRk.

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