BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - One Biloxi councilman is continuing his efforts to improve a once crime ridden South Mississippi Park. Bill Stallworth wants to add new amenities to John Henry Beck Park, and he's calling on the city of Biloxi to help.
Stallworth hopes capital project funds allocated for ward two will help add a splash pad and public restrooms to the 20-year-old park.
John Henry Beck Park was created to serve as a safe place for East Biloxi families, but it turned into a haven for crime. Now things are looking brighter for Henry Beck Park.
"The drugs have virtually been eliminated. The young children are back in the park and we just want to continue to improve that, because as this park improves, so shall the community," said Stallworth.
After Hurricane Katrina, Kaboom added a playground to the park. There have also been several other art and clean-up projects by a number of volunteers.
Stallworth hopes additional features will attract more children to the park.
"This will enable our kids not to have to travel to Gulfport or to Ocean Springs," said Stallworth.
A grant from one volunteer group helped initialize the splash pad project. There's also a commitment from the Harrison County Board of Supervisors to add a walking path. Money from the capital project fund will complete the improvements to the once battered park.
"The park has seen a new resurgence of vitality. It's the lynchpin for bringing back this entire area," said Stallworth.
Teresa Youngblood with the Block Captains agrees.
"This is their community, they live here and they want it to be a safe productive place for their children, and that's what we are trying to facilitate," said Youngblood.
She hopes park improvements will serve as a catalyst for all of East Biloxi to take better care of their community.
"I think it's just going to take us nudging them a little bit and saying, This is what we are going to offer," said Youngblood.