FRIARS POINT —A new community center will go up on Andrew Thompson Street in Friars Point thanks to funding from the state legislature.
The community center was announced during a ceremony at the fire station in Friars Point Saturday morning. Mayor James Washington declined to comment about the funding beyond that it was coming from the state legislature.
“I’m not ready to disclose that at this point,” he said. “It came through the legislature. That’s as far as I’m going to go with that. I like to get it actually in my hand. It’s already official. We’re just waiting on the bond to be sold.”
Washington said multipurpose facilities and recreation areas would be included in the community center.
“We are building this building for the future,” he said. “We are building it so we’ll be able to use technology that they’re preparing for tomorrow today. In other words, your children will no longer have to worry you about, ‘I don’t have this and that.’”
Washington said the community center would be for everyone, regardless of race, or what town an individual lives in.
State Rep. Orlando Paden spoke Saturday morning.
“I just wanted to stop by and say congratulations on our community center,” Paden said. “As the pastor was praying here, he was asking God to bless us collectively. That’s what it’s all about – us coming together collectively.”
Paden said sovereignty was discussed in his political science class when he attended Alcorn State University.
“To get true sovereignty, every individual has to give up some things of their free will to come together,” Paden said. “That’s what the simple word means – community. Inside a community, you’ll find unity. So we stand together. If we work together, we can make all things work. I just want to say congratulations. Let us continue to work in love, to work in peace, to make things better.”
Dr. Jerone Shaw, chief of staff for Coahoma Community College president Dr. Valmadge Towner, spoke in Towner’s place.
“Mayor Washington knows this because he’s as much a Coahomaian as I will ever be” said Shaw. “He knows that any way we can help within this venture, so long as we stay within regulations, that we stand ready to do that. I believe I can speak for my President when I make that statement. I know he would back me on that.”
Shaw said he had a chance to ride around Friars Point with Washington to see the site of the future community center.
“I think it’s a beautiful site, accessible,” Shaw said. “It’s just a flat area right now, but listening to him and the amount of money that he has been given. I am just going to come back a year from now and take a look at that same site. I believe it’s going to have a facility there that we all will be proud of. I can assure you, if there’s information that I have, Coach Washington, that will facilitate any way in the development of this project, all you’ve got to do is reach out.”
Shaw praised Washington for having contacts to make the community center happen.
“If he didn’t have all those contacts, we wouldn’t be standing here this morning talking about $500,000,” Shaw said.
Friars Point police chief Neal Mitchell also spoke.
“For this new building to be in the process of being erected, once it’s finished, we’ve already said it,” Mitchell said. “These children that are out here, they’re going to enjoy this particular facility and it’s going to make the community even better.”
Friars Point city council member the Rev. Joe Sawyer moderated the event.