PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A long-shuttered former library in Paterson is gaining new life as a community center.
Eyewitness News was there Wednesday as the group Humble Beginnings announced its plans for the former Northside Library building at the corner of North Main and Arch streets.
The library was boarded up 12 years ago after it was damaged during Hurricane Irene.
It has since become an abandoned, derelict property and, officials say, a magnet for crime in the area.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and other elected officials were on hand for the announcement.
"When you live in a neighborhood where there's abandonment, pestilence, and blight that renders a hopeless concept in a pervasive belief system of hopelessness in people that live here," Akbar McEntyre from Humble Beginnings said.
Now the community group Humble Beginnings has purchased the building and has big plans.
"We always said if we have an opportunity we would bring back this building," Sayegh said.
For years it has sat as an eyesore and a magnet for crime.
"A few weeks ago there was a shooting not too far from here," Sayegh said.
These gentlemen know firsthand how environment impacts young minds.
Organizers plan to turn the renovated building into a home for family counseling, job placement, violence interruption initiatives and more.
"I have confidence that this will be a beacon of hope in a dark place," McEntyre said.
"The kids have nothing to do. That's why there are lots of shootings around here," resident Sharon Goodman said.
They hope to have Humble Beginnings ribbon cutting within a year.
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