PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Local community leaders were engaged in a rehearsal for a Thursday morning press conference in Homewood.

“Today we are unveiling a new initiative that will revitalize North Homewood,” Marlin Martin, of the Homewood Renaissance Association, was practicing.

In a neighborhood that has seen better days — and often fights a sense of hopelessness — the Homewood Renaissance Association intends to turn things around as the former, never-opened Family Dollar Store becomes a new community center, thanks to the donation of the building for free by Dollar Bank.

“This means hope. This means reconciliation. It means the resources it needs in order to be a sustainable community,” the Reverend Eugene Blackwell of the House of Manna Church told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Blackwell, whose church sponsors the Homewood Renaissance Association, is optimistic.

“In this building, we’ll have a community center with a 300-seat auditorium,” said Blackwell. “We’ll also have a recording studio. We’ll have space for young people, for computers. We’ll have offices that will hold offices for the Homewood Renaissance Association as well as the House of Manna.”

And local leaders want to reverse what they call misperceptions about Homewood.

“The people of this community are fighting hard to change, to bring themselves up, and if given the proper resources, I think they will be able to do that,” noted Greg Schwotzer, chairman of the Homewood Renaissance Association.

In addition to announcing this new Homewood Community Renaissance Center, the association will also announce on Thursday some new jobs and programs for youth in the community.

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