After a year of closure, the newly renovated and improved Rosa Jackson Community Center in east Macon is back in business.
Macon-Bibb County commissioners, members of that community, along with those who had a hand in planning, designing and renovating the center, came together Friday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The center, at 1211 Maynard St., reopens to the public Saturday with a family fun day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Visitors will be able to enjoy youth basketball in the new gym, a light lunch and have an opportunity meet with instructors in the old gym to sign up for various center activities and classes.
The $3.8 million renovation includes the new gym, a workout room with exercise equipment, a splash pad, a new playground and a recording studio.
“Not one of those large deals that you may see on TV, but somewhere where kids can come in and learn about the music industry if that’s something that interests them,” said Recreation Department Director Reggie Moore.
“We’ve got to be creative and find ways to get these kids off the streets and get them into our centers, and it’s not basketball, baseball and football that’s always going to attract them.”
Extensive renovations to the center included a new computer room, new meeting spaces, a warming kitchen and other amenities.
The project was paid for primarily from voter-approved special purpose local sales tax option funds.
Commissioner Larry Schlesinger noted that the renovated center is “really a gift to the community itself and in particular this east Macon neighborhood.”
The ceremony also included the dedication of the Walter E. Davis Sr. Plaza, which was created with about $150,000 in blight bond funds. Davis, whose expertise was in drafting and construction, helped to design and construct many buildings in Macon.
Several of Davis’ family members came out for the event, including daughter Myrna Bell.
“I can remember as a little girl, Rosa Jackson was a wooden building with a long porch around it that we played on,” Bell told those assembled. “Daddy went to several meetings to try and get us a nicer building in this area.”
His granddaughter, Melonie Bell-Hill, also spoke at the dedication.
“It just helps me to know that I am the descendant of someone who made such a significant difference, so it encourages me to be my absolute best,” Bell-Hill said afterward.
After the ribbon cutting, the splash pad was turned on and the center opened for a tour.
Kevin Rainey, who lives in the neighborhood, was impressed with renovations.
“I’m glad they got this because I can learn how to better exercise and have fun shooting a little basketball,” Rainey said. “And I can bring the kids up here and let them do a little basketball, enjoy the splash pad and outdoor activities.”