Man pleads for repairs to Booker T.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 12:00 AM
A member of the Community in Action once again aired complaints over the physical condition of the old Booker T. Washington School and Gym before the Mayor and Board of Aldermen last week, saying he would return monthly until something is done.
"Nothing has literally happened, nothing has come to pass from when I was here a year ago," CIA member Johnnie Beckwith said.
He asked board members, particularly those leaving their current positions later this year, to not let the issue with Booker T. go unresolved.
"It doesn't matter who you make mad now," he said. "I ask you to try to get this settled before you leave office."
The city-owned facility is currently being leased at no charge to Mississippi Action for Progress for its Headstart program.
Last February, the city and MAP drew up a contract that would allow MAP to lease the facility for in-kind contributions for repairs and upkeep of the gym and old school.
The contract noted that the building and grounds would normally lease for $10,050 a month.
City Board Attorney Robert Thomas told Beckwith last week that MAP never signed the contract.
Mayor James A. Young said several telephone messages he left for MAP officials to discuss Booker T. had gone unreturned.
"I challenge you to give them 30 days notice to see why they don't sign the contract," Beckwith said, noting that the facility would be a good location for the Boys & Girls Club.
"There are rooms there that are not being used. There is more than enough room there to accomplish our goal to get some kids off the streets - only if we save one of two," he said, noting that youth crime was on the rise.
He asked the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to tour the facility.
"Come and see what is going on at the gym. I think it would fire you up. There are blacks, whites, Choctaws there are Saturday."
Beckwith said if something wasn't done soon there wouldn't be anything left to do to the Booker T. facility "but bulldoze it down."
Ward 2 Aldermen Roy White recommended that the city send MAP a letter.
"Let's put them on notice," he said.
Alderman-at-large Janice Payne agreed.
"They should have never been allowed to be rent free all these years," she said.
Beckwith said earlier that the gym's roof was in dire need of repairs, citing numerous leaks, which have led to a deterioration of the floor, among other things.