GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Coach Rickey Toles is passionate about coaching and developing kids. That’s why the closed gym at the Gaston Point Community Center is so upsetting to him.
“To me the gym is important to the community because it gives the kids a safe haven to play in,” he explained.
Now that the summer vacation is just a few months away, he says the neighborhood kids will need the positive influence that a staffed, functioning gym will provide.
“Well, when it’s not open, kids have to find their own way," said Toles. "They have to walk around the streets of Gaston Point where there’s nothing really positive at. They have to come up with their own things to do.”
Gulfport Ward One City Councilman Truck Casey Sr. says that repairs are on the way.
“The roof is leaking. So first, we had to get the roof fixed. So finally, they took the RFP and re-did the roof,” Casey said. “Now, we have to address the floor.”
But before the floor can be installed, air conditioners that were purchased to replace the ones that were stolen must arrive and be installed.
“When they come in, we’ll install the a.c. units that way they can install the floor because it’s a hardwood floor, and it must be done in a controlled environment,” said Councilman Casey.
Once that is complete, according to Councilman Casey, the rest of the property is ready to go.
“That’s all we waiting on, activity... Somebody to decide they want to do something for the kids,” he said.
For Coach Toles, that’s exactly what he wants to see happen.
“So, no, it won’t save everyone. But for the ones that it will save, that’s the reason why we need it. Their failure is our future,” he said.