The Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center has been providing recreational programming to the Historic West End since 2000. The small school site recreation center connected to Bruns Academy is living up to the legacy of its name as it continues to provide opportunities for the community to come together. The center was once named the Philip O. Berry Recreational Center, but in 2009 it was rededicated as the Wallace Pruitt Recreational Center. Wallace Pruitt is a neighborhood leader in the Historic West End known for bringing people together to make a difference in the community. He is a dedicated advocate for the Seversville neighborhood located in the Historic West End.
Akwari Roberson, a recreation specialist at the Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center, said that one of the great things about working at the center is that at any time Wallace Pruitt can walk in and see the work that the center is doing in the community. “He is a big supporter of anything we do program wise. He will give money for kids to have scholarships to go to summer camp. He has provided different programming ideas as far as the community is concerned. He also helps get the word out about programs and gets people to come by.”
Rec Programming & Events
The door at the Wallace Pruitt Rec Center is always open. From open gym to programs, to community events and facility rentals, the center is always abuzz with activity. Currently, the center offers a variety of youth-focused programming including youth basketball, afterschool services, a bike riding program, and a STEM Summer Camp. All ages are welcomed during open gym hours. For adults and senior citizens, there is a pottery workshop hosted twice a month. There is something for everyone.
Wallace Pruitt Rec Center also serves as a community space where people can host private events like birthday parties and baby showers. The feature room at the facility is the playroom. It has a huge jungle gym that kids love to play in.
The programs and events allow Wallace Pruitt Rec Center to serve as a resource to the community. However, Wallace Pruitt Rec Center is not just a place to host programs and events, it is a space where people connect with one another. Roberson said rec center staff members like Keith Sturghill help the rec center feel welcoming and more connected to the community. Roberson explained, “Keith Sturghill has a connection with just about everyone who comes through the door. He knows them by first name. With the kids, he is like a big kid so they gravitate to him. He lives in the community and he just has a passion for providing programs that are free and open to all age groups.”
Not only do the staff keep the center connected to the community the regular rec center visitors do this too. Roberson spoke of a group of adults that comes to play basketball every Saturday during open gym. “I think these guys have all grown up around West Charlotte and they all come here every Saturday at 2pm. They bring their kids and the staff will do a bike riding or arts and crafts program with them in the other room while the adults play a game of basketball. So it really gives the place a community feel when they come play basketball.”
Roberson said that from his experience, “The neighborhood has that small town feel where everybody knows everybody.” The Wallace Pruitt Rec Center is a place that is a part of bringing that small town feel to the Historic West End. It is a space for neighbors to convene and connect.