The city of Sarasota is looking to bring its first Black Cultural Center

Updated: Oct. 25, 2020 at 8:23 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The city of Sarasota is looking to use the historical Leonard Reid house as a site for the city’s first Black Cultural Center.

The 1,400-square-foot house sits near Central Avenue and 9th street in the Rosemary District part of Sarasota.

The Reid family members are considered trailblazers and played a vital role in establishing Sarasota’s black community.

Jetson Grimes is a Newtown Native and has his own gallery filled with Sarasota’s Black history. He says this cultural center will help preserve history.

“A lot of history you see, and the people on the walls are representatives of the positives. Because it was very difficult to work and thrive and keep this community, make it is now. We are one of the few African-American communities still existing in the country so that is special,” says Grimes.

City officials and the owners of the Reid house have agreed to move the home from its current location to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Way and Orange Avenue in Newtown. Also, City commissioners agreed to spend up to $116,000 from local business taxes to help with the move.

Grimes says the cultural center will help generate needed business to the Newtown Community

“The whole idea is to invest it into the community. We need another economy we need people to be able to come into this community and stimulate businesses to create opportunities within the community,” he says.

The city says the cultural center helps their goal of creating the MLK corridor, to draw tourists to Newtown and preserve the community’s rich culture.

Now the city is yet to release the date on when the Reid house will move to its new location or when the Black Cultural Center will open.

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