Residents Weigh In On New Community Center

Plans are in the works for the Dedeaux Road Community Center. The new facility will replace the old Charles Walker Center.

Monday night, Orange Grove residents had a chance to tell architects what they want.

"I want something nice. I want something appealing. I want something diversified that all of our people can utilize. All of them," said one Orange Grove resident.

Residents say they know what they want when it comes to plans for the new Dedeaux Road Community Center. Multi-purpose rooms, curb appeal and a computer center were some of the ideas. Ideas that builders say can happen. However, there are others they won't.

Some residents want an indoor swimming pool. Builder David Vicknair with Broaddus & Associates says that will not fit into this project.

"For this particular project what is out of range is a swimming pool. Because a swimming pool would be part of the function of a recreational facility and part of FEMA's guidelines is to have the same function is what was there before and Charles Walker had the function of a community center," Vicnair said.

Councilwoman Barbara Nalley wants the people in her ward to know there are no bad ideas.

"I think that if you have input into what you have into your community, then you're going to be happier with what we put into your community because you actually have a say in what goes there," Nalley said.

In the past, Nalley has expressed some opposition to the Dedeaux Road land deal but now she's moving forward.

"We are here now and I want to see the best facility possible and I don't want to cost the taxpayers any funding. We have a million four in this acquisition and I want FEMA to reimburse us for that," Nalley said.

That's why she says she will continue working with residents to see what they do want in their backyards until the job is complete.

The new community center will also serve as a storm shelter.

If you were not able to attend the meeting and you have some suggestions. You can call Ward 7 Councilwoman Barbara Nalley at 228-868-5848.