Community comes together to celebrate renovated facility

Published 9:50 am Friday, December 2, 2016

A little dancing and some grilling welcomed people to the newly renovated pavilion at City Park Thursday night during the grand reopening ceremonies.

The event kicked off with music, health screenings, food and fitness equipment for the community to enjoy under the new awning and bright lights on the updated pavilion.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“It’s a major improvement from what it was,” Alderman Willis Thompson said. “We think our constituents deserve the best and it’s a step in the right direction to do something positive in the city.”

Thompson said the pavilion is one of the oldest, most heavily utilized facilities in the city and it needed to be upgraded structurally and aesthetically.

“A lot of work has gone into it,” said Vickie Bailey, program coordinator for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “They reinforced the structure. They put a new top on. We painted the restroom. We redid the playground. The grass and trees have been cut back.”

The roof was replaced from wood to metal, more lights were added, and structural problems were addressed on the 51-year-old structure, Thompson said. Renovations took eight months to complete, and the pavilion was closed throughout the entire process.

“People have been calling about it ever since its been closed,” Thompson said. “Normally it’s booked throughout the summer and the fall of the year. It’s a place where the people of Vicksburg come to congregate, and we thought it was important to make the necessary renovations.”

Bailey said the pavilion is perfect for reunions, church events, outdoor concerts and so many other uses. Near the pavilion is a walking trial, skateboard park, grills, playground, softball field and pool. 

“It’s almost like a small complex right here that we want the general public to come back out and start utilizing,” she said.

A group of four friends sat a picnic table, as the party got underway, curious about the renovations done to the pavilion. 

“We came out to support,” Cayley Ross said.

The group attended the event to be a part of the community. They were looking forward to meeting new people, playing games and listening to music.

“(I’m going to) socialize with other people I don’t know and just have a great time,” Jason Benard said.

This was the group’s first time out at the pavilion, and they said they would probably being taking advantage of the City Park area more often now that it has been renovated.

“You could have family reunions here,” Ross said.

The group thought it was important for the community to a have place to congregate like the pavilion. To them, having the area fosters the sense of community for Vicksburg, and they thought it could bring people together.

“It brings out the community to just have a good time,” Marvelle Groves said.

Three booths were set up by different organizations to promote health and fitness to the community.

“The whole idea is we want our community to be healthier and fitter,” Bailey said.

Tomeka Banks, a community health worker from Claiborne County Health Center, was handing out free toothbrushes, toothpaste, allergy medication and more.

“I’m here promoting good oral hygiene and good eating habits. (I’m) doing blood pressure checks, and I’m talking a little bit about cancer awareness,” she said.

Ashleigh Bailey and Jaylah Peaches with the Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition had a demonstration showing a healthy lung and how it contrasted in look and movement compared with an unhealthy lung of a smoker.

“We came out today to get out the word on the harmful effects of tobacco,” Peaches said.

The Alcorn State University Extension Program had weights, resistance bands and jump ropes available for people to try out during the event. Intern Miata Hudson said field program coordinator Jacqueline Ford was at the event to promote health and wellness.

“She’s giving exercise tips, and also giving different things you can do as far as eating habits and yoga stretches,” Hudson said.