New center coming online in Gulfport

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There's a new community center coming online in Gulfport called Freedom Hall.

"We all have something we can invest in other people.  It's about creating an environment to make this happen," Project Coordinator Darren Sanford said.

Freedom Hall occupies a building, currently under construction off 28th Street, a block off Pass Road.  It's a project that was divinely inspired, according to Sanford, and supported through donations from supporters.  The center will offer everything from office space for small businesses to mentorship and training programs in the culinary arts, carpentry and electric work.

"It's a place where people can come in and use their gifts, talents and abilities and use that to effect someone's life in a positive manner," Sanford said.

One of the first places people will see when they walk in is the Liberty Cafe.

"It's called Liberty because the intent is not just to serve coffee, but to do things with a purpose," Sanford said.

The idea is to have a safe space for people to discuss and bring awareness to issues like human trafficking and its prevalence in local and international communities.  A little farther in, a multipurpose area about the size of a volleyball court is taking shape.

"It could be used for banquets, a family reunion, a community movie night or it could be used for a church service on a Sunday," Sanford said.

Regardless of what people are looking for when they walk in, the goal, according to project supporter Bryan Rogers, is to give people the encouragement and resources they need to live more fulfilled and purposeful lives.

"It's really limitless what can be done here.  I mean the sky's the limit," Rogers said.

More than 300 volunteers have worked on the building for the past nine months. Freedom Hall is set to open sometime next year.

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