Plaza Midwood neighbors fight for Midwood Cultural Center to stay

- People from the Plaza Midwood neighborhood packed a CMS board meeting Tuesday night, worried an old school in their neighborhood could be sold.

Many people have probably spotted the old school along Central Ave. in the heart of Plaza Midwood. Neighbors say although it may no longer be a school, it’s still having a positive impact on the neighborhood.

“In its 6 years, the Midwood Center has become a vibrant and important part of the Charlotte community,” said one neighbor at the CMS board meeting.

More than a dozen non-profit organizations operate out of the old school. It’s made possible by a lease through CMS for the past 6 years. The lease is set to expire in June.

About 50 people showed up at Tuesday night’s board meeting with signs in hand, begging board members to renew the lease.

“MICC is really valuable. It’s helping the community grow and have different cultures talk to each other,” said a CMS student who uses the center.

One of the non-profits based at the center is the International House, which aims to help Charlotte born foreign residents become a part of the community.

“The low income immigrant family comes in for English and civics class and while they are there they can go down the hall and ask for legal representation on their path to citizenship,” said International House Executive Director, Rusty Reynolds.

Last year those services almost moved, but CMS agreed to extend the lease by one year. Now, tenants are asking for a 10 year extension.

“These non-profits are all long standing, successful and they are just wanting to know that they have a place that they can call home for the next several years,” said Monte Ritchey, President of Access Property Management.

The CMS board is expected to vote on a lease renewal sometime before this summer. Neighbors are worried if the lease is not approved, the building could be sold and a developer could take control.

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