No override, no splash pad in Beck Park

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The effort to add a splash pad to one Biloxi Park is over, at least for now.

Last month, the city council approved a resolution to add a splash pad to John Henry Beck Park. But Mayor A.J. Holloway vetoed the resolution saying they simply couldn't afford it. That move brought criticism of racial discrimination.

The wife of Councilman Bill Stallworth had strong criticism about the mayor. Tuesday, her criticism was aimed at us, saying WLOX distorted her words.

"As far as I'm concerned, I never said that the mayor didn't have a problem with the predominately black neighborhood, because I don't believe that's true," Kryzra Stallworth said.

Stallworth disagrees with Mayor A.J. Holloway's veto of a $350,00 measure for a splash and another amenities at Beck Park. But she said her comments last week were never meant to be racial and were somehow distorted.

"I didn't know so much division until I moved to Biloxi, until I moved to East Biloxi. So understand that when I say "we," I'm talking about everybody," said Stallworth. "I'm talking about wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I'm talking about all of us being able to benefit."

However, in the story from Tuesday, July 28, Stallworth had a different message for Mayor Holloway.

"I ask you, please get out of the 1850s, please leave the black codes out, please leave the Jim Crows out. Look at us, not by the color of skin, but by the content of our hearts, and our desires, and our drive," said Stallworth.

Mayor Holloway said his veto was about spending, not race.

Before the council voted whether to override that veto, citizens again made their case.

"Children like myself that go to the park need a fun place to go," said 10-year-old Myteonna Vison.

Martha Thomas agrees.

"We need this in there to take them off the corners and to give them something to do," said Thomas.

Others believe the mayor's veto was a smart move.

"It has nothing to do with wanting all of these wonderful material things that we would all want for our children. It's a matter of expenditures and the debt," said one Biloxi resident.

In the end, the vote to override the mayor failed three votes to four. But Councilman Stallworth still believes the splash pad needs to be built.

"We are going to make this reality, one way or the other," Stallworth said.

On another note, in a unanimous decision, the Biloxi City Council voted to override the mayor's veto to add new equipment to the Mercy Cross Gymnasium. The renovations are expected to cost about $35,000.

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