NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — A place to play, a community resource kitchen, community laundry and more. A project six years in the making is projected to come to Niagara Falls this summer.
"I want them to feel like if I need something, I can go here for resources. I'm connected, this space is created for me. I live here and this is my space," said Keyonna Dunn, co-founder of the Highland Clubhouse.
Dunn and Krista Ehasz want to fill a void in the Falls. More than a decade ago, there was a place for people to turn to on 13th street and Centre Avenue. With that gone, they set out to bring a community anchor back in 2016, officially becoming a non-profit in 2019.
The original plan was to rehab a building at 1111 Grove Ave.
"It ended up being more work than that, we had a small fire there and we had some foundation damage," said Ehasz.
So they had to scrap that plan and start from scratch, finding an architecture firm in January of this year who can help them move forward with a new vision.
"[It's] cargo architecture, which is cool looking, but it's also more sustainable, but it'll be able to go up sooner," said Ehasz.
As of right now, they plan to open the space this summer. And before that, they want to open a retail space on Third street for local artisans to sell their creations.
In the meantime, they're doing a number of things for the community virtually and from 642 Hyde Park Blvd:
- Tea time Etiquette classes
- Family fun nights
- Yoga Classes
- A Community Advocates Support Group: Female- and BIPOC-led small nonprofits that meet monthly to support and share resources
- Camp Citizen initiative is funded by Niagara Area Foundation teaching kids the importance of good citizenship
They've received funding from the City of Niagara Falls Office of Community Development, First Niagara Foundation, and Foundation 214 for the construction costs so far. To continue raising money, they're hosting an online auction from March 4 to March 11, they're hosting an online auction which you can participate in by clicking here.
To help them raise funds for highland clubhouse, more info here.