After four years of hard work and the collaboration of multiple organizations including the South Side Initiative, the South Side Communication Center opened its doors Wednesday, Jan. 26, afternoon.
Four years ago, 2331 South Salina St. was a vacant residential building. Today, it is a crisp, remodeled structure with wood floors and windows that let in plenty of natural light. It will become the home base for the Southside Community Coalition and the Black History Preservation Project.
“The first impact is that people see there is investment in this neighborhood. It shows that there’s potential here,” said Joseph Bryant, president of the Southside Community Coalition. Born and raised in the South Side, Bryant has devoted himself to community revitalization.
Bryant says the coalition is a community organization driven by its members, who often live and work on the South Side. They aim to grow a strong business and cultural district along the South Salina Street corridor.
But Bryant also sees a need of infrastructure and new businesses in the area. For this to happen, he says the South Side needs outside investment in its success and the support of its residents.
“There aren’t enough young people in the black community involved in developing businesses,” he said.
The building will facilitate the coalition’s South Africa Meets the South Side Initiative. Video conferencing will allow the coalition to meet with residents of Alice, South Africa to discuss community engagement practices.
The South Side Communication Center also has meeting space that will be used for community workshops and classes, including those offered by The Stand, which will now be based at the center. And there is a Public Access Technology Center that will provide computers with an Internet connection to residents.