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Leadership program eyes park upgrade

A community leadership program’s participants are looking togive a Pearlhaven park a facelift and possibly add some newattractions.

This year’s Competitive Community Program members have targetedBicentennial Park on Main Street for improvements. A designcommittee is in the process of developing ideas, said CCP memberTravis Wright.

“Right now, it’s kind of open-ended,” said Wright, adding thatideas mentioned have included a basketball court, lighting,playground equipment upgrades and a parking area.

After getting permission from city aldermen during a recentboard meeting, the organization is seeking a state CommunityDevelopment Block Grant to help with the park project. The grantthrough the Mississippi Development Authority is available on a 70percent state-30 percent local basis and the maximum project amountis $100,000.

“The first thing we’re trying to do is take care of the grantissues,” Wright said.

The grant application deadline is July 31. A public hearing onthe grant application is scheduled for July 10 at 10:30 a.m. andwill coincide with Day in the Park activities.

Wright said an income survey of the Pearlhaven area must bedone. Also, CCP members are trying to line up in-kind labor andmaterials assistance to determine how large a project topursue.

“We’ve got a good team I feel that’s committed to finishing thisout,” said Wright, who hoped to have the park improvements up andgoing by October.

CCP members have spoken with Terry Reid, recreation departmentdirector, regarding park plans. He was optimistic about the ideasmentioned.

“It’ll be an excellent project,” Reid said.

Reid said the park is a popular place for families and childrenin the Pearlhaven neighborhood. He said it is usually busy in thelate afternoon and on weekends.

“It’s a pretty well-used park,” Reid said.

Wright said he hopes the CCP project can be a “difference-maker”for both the park and the city.

“We hope we can get it off the ground and do something for thechildren and to improve the overall presentation of Brookhaven,”Wright said.