Sisters Violet, 14, and Yanna Preston, 17, are the first members of the planned community center and will be trained as recruiters. That’s center director Robert Taylor in the background. (Click to enlarge)
Growing up, Yanna and Violet Preston spent countless hours at the Count Basie Learning Center on Drs. James Parker Boulevard in Red Bank.
But the borough-owned building, located next door to their home on Bridge Avenue, has been vacant for the past two years, an interim in which the town twice tried to sell it and failed to attract a single bid.
Meantime, squirrels made themselves at home in the structure, and dozens of kids who used to rely on it as a safe place for educational activities offered by the Community YMCA had to make do elsewhere.
Now, though, a campaign to revive the building by turning it into a community center is on the verge of completion. And this week, the Preston sisters were not only the first to sign up as members, but have volunteered to serve as youth recruiters for the facility.