John Henry Beck Park Set To Reopen In Mid August - - The News for South Mississippi

John Henry Beck Park Set To Reopen In Mid August

A popular East Biloxi park damaged during Katrina is set to reopen in mid August.

The East Biloxi Coordination Center, along with the group Kaboom and Hands on Network, are teaming up to bring a brand new playground to John Henry Beck Park.

Organizers say they plan on creating a place where people can escape from all of the debris and destruction surrounding the area.  

It was dedicated in 1983, but Biloxi Councilman Bill Stallworth still remembers building this park as one of his first projects of his newly elected office.

"Over there was called the Bungie area. It was kind of a ghetto, but we had nice neighbors. We cleaned it all out and built this park," says Stallworth.

Now, nearly 30 years later Stallworth finds himself working on that same project once again, but he doesn't mind one bit.

Saying this park could lift the spirits and the look of the entire neighborhood.

"I am extremely excited. One thing that this park will do is it becomes an anchor for the entire area. It becomes a place where people can not only rest and revive themselves, but it sets a tone for the entire area. If we could make it a beautiful attractive place then the rest of the community sort of comes together and becomes that same kind of place to live," says Stallworth.

Lirentay Goudy was born and raised in East Biloxi. He has fond memories of playing here as a child.

"We use to play milk shade on our little swings. And now we don't have a swing. All we are looking at is little broke slides and broke down trees now," says Goudy.

If all goes according to plans, this now noiseless, empty park will be filled sounds of laughter and tons of playground equipment in a matter of months.

"That's a good thing looking at the park get rebuilt. Because right now the kids are no where to be found. Right now if this park was back I guarantee you it would be filled with kids and mothers," says Goudy.

This park has often been used by relief organizations post Katrina, but Stallworth says they have moved to other locations.

And he feels that now is the time for the community to join together and help rebuild Henry Beck Park.

Once the project is underway Stallworth says he will invite everyone in the community to come out and lend a helping hand.

If you'd like to volunteer call the East Biloxi Coordination Relief Center at 435-7180.

By Keitha Nelson

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