FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Handy Recreation Center in West Florence is a place where people can host community events and where children can spend their after-school hours indulging in what the center has to offer.
At the latest city council meeting, city leaders in Florence announced there were plans in place to renovate the Handy Recreation Center.
Renovations included new plumbing, upgrades to the recreation areas along with new fencing and shade for the center’s pool.
However, community members like Sheila Thompson say those renovations won’t be enough.
Thompson says the center played a major role in her upbringing and after seeing the condition it’s in today, she says it saddens her.
“Our community we feel like we need a new center we have been putting band-aids on this we’ve been expected to accept whatever little coins is given to us,” Thompson told News 19.
Built in 1954, the recreation center hasn’t been renovated since the early 2000s and there are no plans in place for a possible rebuild.
City Council Member Kaytrina Simmons says the community deserves to have a role in the decision-making process as it pertains to the center that means so much to many in West Florence.
“I recall the last renovation was in 2000 so here it is 2023 that’s been a long time,” Simmons said. “This center still looks the same besides a few minor alterations here and there since I was a little girl. I think they do deserve a new facility.”
As for West Florence natives like Sheila Thompson, she’s hoping city leaders will listen to her community and their desires.
“We the people of the city of West Florence, we deserve some consideration, we deserved to be asked what we want, what we need, what would make this community better for our children, our future generations. We weren’t given that chance,” Thompson said. “It just makes me sad when I come in I see the ceiling is falling in. We deserve better.”
Simmons presides over the district where the Handy Recreation Center is located.
She’s hoping the city will put renovation plans on hold for now and bring the community back to the table to hear their desires at a meeting scheduled for October 2nd.