GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The talk of a new partnership that may reopen Gulfport's Police Athletic League center is news many locals have been waiting to hear.
"Sounds good, so all the kids can have somewhere to do their homework, and all their mamas can be at work and not worry about them," Gulfport resident Minnie McGowan said.
After the PAL center closed its doors right before Christmas, there were no plans to reopen them, but now on Gulfport's next city council agenda, a resolution that could change that.
The resolution is between the City of Gulfport and the Climb Community Development Cooperation (CLIMB CDC). Their goal is to provide programs and services to families and individuals in the community.
That's good news for McGowan, who lives in a house located less than a mile away from the PAL center.
"Oh it was real nice," said McGowan with a smile. "I use to enjoy seeing the children down there. They use to have somewhere to go, and they stayed out of trouble."
Gulfport resident Ricky Toles worked close with the kids at the center when it was open. He says it's a relief to hear about a new partnership that will benefit the kids in the neighborhood and help reduce crime.
"Yeah, it's going to be a safe haven. If I'm not mistaken, our crime rate has gone up real bad. So yeah, yeah, we need to do something quick," Toles said.
I reached out to CLIMB CDC's development director, as well as the Gulfport Police Department Friday morning and was told they cannot discuss the partnership further until Tuesday's meeting.
"I think they should go ahead and hurry up and open it up, because school is going to start in August on the 13th," McGowan said.
"Uh, hurry, hurry, hurry," Toles said with a laugh.
Even though the partnership between the non-profit and the Gulfport Police Department ended because of budget problems, officers were still involved in a number of programs and summer activities for youth.