Elise's Blog: Where are the children?

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Tuesday, Biloxi City Council decided to move one step closer to adding more amenities to Henry Beck Park.

Councilman Stallworth said the plans have been in the works since 2007 and capital project funds will make it easier to construct the splash pad.  But with all of the effort being put into restoring the 20-year-old park, how many people will take advantage of it?

Before the council meeting, I had the opportunity to take a look at the park plans with ward two Councilman Bill Stallworth. They include public restrooms, a walking path (which the Harrison County Board of Supervisors will fund) and a splash pad.

I met Councilman Stallworth at the park around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning. It took us a little more than an hour to complete the interview and shoot video. During that time, there was not one child or adult taking advantage of the park. I found that surprising since it was such a beautiful day, not to mention summer vacation is coming to a close for many students.  But that morning, there was no one at Henry Beck Park.

It's not the first time I've witnessed what seemed to be a desolate Henry Beck Park. Collectively, the community will come together to host events at the park. But how many individual families regularly enjoy the park? Is it common to hear the laughter of children at Henry Beck Park?

So many people are putting so much work into the park. Think about it: After Hurricane Katrina, Kaboom leaders and hundreds of volunteers spent an entire day adding a state-of-the art playground. The park has swing sets, a jungle gym, a see-saw, a basketball court and many other nice features. Americorp volunteers still dedicate countless hours planting flowers and adding artwork.

It's all an effort to attract more people to the park and inspire people to take better care of their homes and businesses. However, it doesn't seem as though people are getting the message.

If you haven't visited Henry Beck Park, you should. There is some amazing artwork in the gazebo area. Biloxi school children and children from the Boys & Girls Club painted colorful tiles and other artwork highlighting instrumental leaders from the Biloxi community. Leaders like Fannie Nichols, Rev. Dickey and Dr. Gilbert Mason. While I've never met any of those leaders, from what their families and friends, they were all about bringing the community together. It's up to the today's generation to continue those efforts and what better platform than Henry Beck Park.

That's your park East Biloxi, use it. If you don't, drug dealers will.

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