FORT MYERS, Fla.-- A $1 million donation from a local philanthropist has put the Harlem Heights Cultural Arts and Community Center project back on track.
Construction on the project had stalled after a donor had to pull a multi-million dollar pledge because of the struggling economy.
But when John and Mary Jo Boler, part-time Sanibel residents, found out about the project, they stepped up to help.
The Bolers are pledging $1 million toward the completion of the center.
Work on the project began in 2008 and The Heights Foundation raised $1.5 million of the $6.5 million needed for construction.
The Heights Foundation is a grassroots organization that works to break the cycle of poverty in the Harlem Heights neighborhood.
The Foundation is focused on building a center in the Harlem Heights community to provide a place for family and community development, education and job training programs , and access to the cultural and expressive arts.
John Boler call the project a labor of love that needs to be completed.
"This place needs to succeed," Boler said at the site of the project when the announcement was made. "We need all the help that we can get. This is a Fort Myers project. This is an opportunity to give the poor a chance."
Approximately 1,200 children live in the community, with family living in poverty at a rate that is significantly higher than the rest of Lee County.
Boler hopes the community center will provide an outlet for children to channel their passion and creativty instead of turning to lives of drugs and crime.