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Wheatley Center is sold

After the bidding climbed slowly but steadily for nearly 45 minutes, Joyce Brown submitted the final bid of $114,000 for the Phillis Wheatley Center on Chestnut Street.

"This is a faith move," said Brown of Shield of Faith Ministries, an educational and support program for at-risk youth.

Although she hasn't finalized plans for the 6,200-square-foot building that has a history in the East End community dating to the 1960s, Brown said she could imagine the building housing educational programs for youth who are falling behind in school or safe activities for special needs youth.

"There isn't anything like that in this community," she said.

The center was owned by the Brenda D. Cowan Coalition for Kentucky, Inc., which will use proceeds to finance programs.

Shield of Faith hasn't been operational for a couple of years because of a lack of space and because of Brown's responsibilities as a foster parent, she said. The ministry had been housed in a duplex on Bellaire Avenue.

In addition to the educational programs, Brown's mother has a boarding home that could expand to the center, she said. With a kitchen in the building, its future also could include a feeding program or cafeteria, she said.

Charlette Thompson, co-founder with her husband, Richard, of Open Door Ministries, was the losing bidder. The church holds services in the center and wanted it as a permanent home, Thompson said.

Karen Trivette, chief executive officer of the Cowan Coalition, said she was happy with the outcome of the sale.

"I am pleased to see it is still going to be something positive for this community," she said. "We will work with them and help them in any way we can."

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