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Community can seize upon recreational opportunities

Throughout the history of the United States, self-determinationhas been a hallmark of successful and progressive states andcommunities. If citizens saw a need, they let their leaders knowand worked with them to address it.

Currently, the Brookhaven community has two opportunities toseize in the area of recreational activities. One involves aproposed park near Bethel AME Church and the other is the restartof the Dr. A.L. Lott Baseball League.

Brookhaven Recreation Department leaders are encouragingvolunteers to take an interest in the park project.

State officials will consider pursuing a grant that would pay$70,000 toward the park provided the community can come up withenough volunteer and other participation to provide a match worth$30,000. Think about it, a $100,000 park essentially could be builtfor free if people will invest some interest and “sweat equity” inthe project.

About 45-50 people are needed to express interest in the form ofapplications, which are available at the recreation department.After enough applications are submitted, a meeting would bescheduled to discuss the project.

A state official didn’t mince words last week when she said thegrant will not happen without community participation.

“If they don’t come out, that means they’re not interested anddon’t care about having a park in the neighborhood,” said BrendaLacy, with the Mississippi Development Authority.

Also in the recreation area, parents and those interested in theLott baseball league will have a chance Tuesday to show theirsupport and desire for the league to form this year. The league wasunable to form last year when only 26 children signed up.

After having a meeting in January at the BRD main office onHighway 51, officials have scheduled a 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday atAlexander Junior High School. The school is closer to those whowill be potentially served by the program.

BRD officials this year are looking for more than 100 childrento join the league, which would be enough to have at least threeteams in each age group. Some contingencies have been made forcombining some age groups if needed.

Recreation leaders are making extra efforts this year to promoteparticipation in the Lott league. They say league fees are not aconcern, as they will seek sponsorships for children who are unableto pay.

That fact brings the league’s fate back to parents. Theirwillingness to support the program by allowing their children tojoin and getting them to practice and games on time will be a majorfactor in whether the league forms and prospers.

Bethel Park and Lott league supporters can send a strongaffirmative message by expressing an interest in the projects. Ifthe two projects don’t come about, a clear message of apathy willhave been sent and two great opportunities will have beenmissed.