Community center to be dedicated Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 2, 2002

Former professional basketball player Michael Phelps, left, shows Aaron Wynn, 9, right, some moves Wednesday during the first day of the Hoop It Up with G.R.E.A.T. basketball camp at the Jackson Street Community Center.(The Vicksburg Post/C. Todd Sherman)

[08/02/02]A dedication ceremony and open house for the Jackson Street Community Center will be at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Horace Allen with Warren Yazoo Mental Health Services will be the guest speaker along with local elected officials. The program will be followed by a basketball free-throw contest and back-to-school dance for children ages 7 to 16.

Vicki Bailey, director of the new community center, said the vision of the Jackson Street Center is bringing the community together.

“It’s open to the general public and we’re asking that everyone come out and be a part of it,” Bailey said.

The $1.5 million center was built over 16 months under the administration headed by former Mayor Robert Walker. The original plans, which included indoor tennis courts, were scaled down to meet budget constraints.

The finished facility has an indoor basketball court, two classrooms and an outdoor area for playground equipment. Bailey said Saturday’s program will not be a grand opening because they are still waiting on indoor bleachers and playground equipment to be fully operational.

Operations began at the building two months ago with several summer youth programs. An after-school program will begin there Aug. 12, and in September a basketball league will kickoff.

“The building will be focused on adults and senior citizens while the kids are in school,” Bailey said. But, “every Saturday there will be something constructive for the youth.”

After school starts, plans are to open the center to seniors on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., for the general public from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and for after-school programs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Plans are to have different youth programs on Saturdays. The center has a budget of $185,430 for this year and uses grants to fund youth programs.

The center is on Walnut Street west of the City Auditorium. The site was the location of the Jackson Street YMCA from 1924 until it was closed after desegregation.