GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Construction for the Augusta Savage Library and Mentoring Center in Green Cove Springs is underway.
The project has gone from an idea to reality through partnerships between the city of Green Cove Springs, the Clay County Board of Commissioners, Clay County District Schools and the Friends of Augusta Savage, Inc.
The building, located at 1105 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, between Belle Avenue and Lemon Street, is part of a small complex along with the Thomas Hogans Memorial Gymnasium and the Episcopal Children’s Services Headstart program. The city of Green Cove Springs purchased the area around 2010. The Mentoring center has been in the works for about five years, going through multiple iterations of design plans.
“It’s always the money that was the issue,” said City Manager Steve Kennedy in regards to hiccups that slowed down the project over the years. “The good thing and the very positive thing we need to stress is that the county, the Clay County Board of Commissioners agreed to fund about $300,000 towards the cost of the project about three months ago. That helped push us to being able to take monies we had already in place and budgeted and add their funding to it to complete it.”
This project brings value to Green Cove Springs. In a lower-income area of the county, it will help to bring resources currently unavailable in the area where it is being constructed. There will be a museum component that will also have interactive displays. The displays as planned will have the actual exhibit along with narration that explains it to the visitor.
“Secondarily, which is also equally as important, is the educational aspect. There are many students that when they leave school, there’s not a defined place for them to go. Some students have their plan for their future, what they want to do, where they want to be, and others don’t. This is an opportunity for us to help direct and motivate some of the students to make some choices to what they want to do.”
Being named after Augusta Savage, of course, the building will also have art programs where children can enroll. There are plans for programs in music and dance.
In addition to the arts programs, computers will be available to help bridge the gap for those who may not access to one at home, as well as mentorship and after school programs for homework, etc. This also allows for the city to partner with the school board.
“They [the school board] just got extremely excited about the fact that it would be another resource that they [students] could use to use some of their services. Their teachers, their counselors that would volunteer their time to come be there to help some of the students set goals. This is just an early opportunity for them to start developing goals and deciding where they want to go with their lives.”
Green Cove Springs taxpayers won’t have to worry about the project costing them any extra. The city had already earmarked the funds.
Kennedy is optimistic about the opportunities that the Library and Mentoring Center will create for the neighborhood and the school-aged children within it. The new building will improve the appearance of the complex.
“I think it’s a great project. I think it’s an opportunity to showcase Augusta Savage’s accomplishments,” he said. “It shows the great benefit of partnerships amongst various groups: the county school districts, the city, Friends of Augusta Savage, and other volunteer groups that have indicated a desire to help. It’s a benefit of taking caring of our students to go life, the next phase of their life with goals in place, and know-how and how to do things. It will improve the neighborhood involvement over there.”
The Mentoring center is expected to be completed in January or February, 2021.