Sons of Malta transforming bar into youth center

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A neighborhood bar in Kalamazoo will soon be transformed into a safe haven for children and teens.

The Sons of Malta motorcycle club got to work on the former Corner Bar in the Edison neighborhood on Sunday.

What was once a bar will soon be a place where kids can escape from violence.

Right now it's hard to see. To most people it still looks like an abandoned bar, but members of the Sons of Malta motorcycle club say they can see the big changes coming for this run down building.

Joseph Weeks says, it will include "a rec center, place to study, place that kids go and stay off the street."

Amir Khillah adds "training area, study hall, looking at a computer lab down the road," are in the plans.

Khillah, a member of the club, bought the Corner Bar on Vine Street in the Edison neighborhood. Saturday was the first time club members had a chance to go inside to see what they have to work with and begin the transformation process into turning it into a place for kids.

"A big part of the morning was walking around, seeing what has to be done, there's some roof leaks that has to be fixed, we'll figure that out," Weeks says. "Just some cleanup, then there's going to be some renovation that has to happen. This is day one."

They say working one weekend at a time it will get done. The Edison neighborhood has seen plenty of violence. These volunteers hope this will be a place where kids can get away from it and become better people.

Weeks says, "It's going to be, the biggest thing -- a safe place. It's a huge project but we've had many people step up to bat in the past and I think with everyone's support we'll be able to get something great up and running here."

The Sons of Malta says it will spend most weekends working on the project.

For more information, or to volunteer, click here.