KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Kansas City has seen a major uptick in violence over the last couple of weeks, including nine shootings in a matter of just two days this week.
However, some locals believe an empty building could help fill a missing sense of community and slow the violence down.
“We have got to become a place of refuge for these children,” said Wisdom Williams.
Williams, along with her fellow community members, stood at the corner of 35th Street in Kansas City, on Saturday pleading for our ongoing violence to end.
“I’m overwhelmed with the grief and the pain that the people in the community must be feeling,” she said.
It’s a feeling Williams is all too familiar with. Nearly two years ago, her grandson Elijah was hit by a stray bullet. “So, then it became more personal,” she said.
Luckily, Elijah recovered and was even at today’s event.
That incident only added more passion to the message Williams has been sharing for years, calling for peace and protection for future generations.
“They are listening to gunshots as they lay up in their beds,” she said. “There is no real sleep, no real peace, no real rest, and they walk in fear every single day.”
However, she said what can help possibly prevent the violence in this area is by utilizing a building that’s already in the heart of the community.
According to the Kansas City Public Schools website, the Chester A. Franklin Elementary School has been closed down since 2010.
“It was a wonderful school,” Williams said. “We just believe that it’s been empty all this time for a reason.”
According to the school’s website, the building could be used for KCPS offices. However, it also has city approval to serve as a community center.
That’s something many hope is part of the plan.
“Build something that would be a lasting legacy after we are gone,” one person at the event said.
“We will make a difference in this community. We will make a difference in this city," another person said.
For now, the building will remain empty. But, this vision of the past has potential to become a beacon of hope for the future, just waiting for its next life.
We reached out to KCPS to learn more about the future plans for the facility but they have yet to contact us back.