Historic building in center of KCK neighborhood revitalized - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Historic building in center of KCK neighborhood to be revitalized

(Rob Rhodes/KCTV) (Rob Rhodes/KCTV)
(Rob Rhodes/KCTV) (Rob Rhodes/KCTV)
(Rob Rhodes/KCTV) (Rob Rhodes/KCTV)
(Rob Rhodes/KCTV) (Rob Rhodes/KCTV)

A historic building that's the center of Kansas City, KS' Argentine neighborhood will soon be updated.

Franklin Elementary School, located at 1403 Metropolitan Ave., first opened its doors 116 years ago and it's had a rich history with many ups and downs. Now volunteers are coming together to revive the neglected building and bring it back to its glory days.

"Well right in here was our kindergarten room and I can visualize all of us laying down on our rugs right here," said Sue Reich, a former student.

Reich has many fond memories of her time in the classrooms of Franklin Elementary starting back in 1946.

"Right up here, that's me in kindergarten. And down here me in fourth grade," she said.

But low enrollment forced the school to finally close in 1975. Years later it turned into an active community center with an old fashioned coffee shop.

But money eventually ran out and the center was once again vacant and the target of vandals.

"When I saw the condition at first I felt really mad," Reich said.

So she and other families in the community formed a group called the Friends of Franklin Center and they worked to clean up the damage. They're now pushing a campaign to reopen the center in the summer of 2016.

"Certainly we need people to help us, for the children and for the seniors, because this is for them," said Ruperto Aguirre, the cultural affairs officer.

"I think what's really impressive about this building is that, 100 years ago the citizens in our neighborhood wanted to build a place of beauty and lasting beauty, and I think they had today's generation in mind when they built it and they thought that their kids were worthy of a place of beauty," said Kurt Rietema, the president of Franklin Center, Inc.

The children in the neighborhood Friday were excited and said they were dreaming about the endless possibilities of the remarkable

"The best Franklin ever… (I'm excited for) the café and classes," said 7-year-old Kyleigh Curtis.

"(I want to see at Franklin) a skate park and a water park. A place to have fun," said 9-year-old Cierra King.

The Friends of Franklin are inviting the community to attend a fun fall festival to re-dedicate Franklin Center Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Volunteers have set a goal of raising $2.5 million to restore the building and create children's programs.

Organizers conducted a survey of the community and the results showed that residents wanted children's programs offered as well as a daycare. The community survey also showed that people really wanted the center's coffee shop to return.

Click here for more information on how people can help restore the Franklin Center.

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