Montgomery seeking to revamp aging community centers

Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 6:14 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2023 at 6:20 PM CST

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Newtown Community Center is a popular place for kids to play and churches to host events, but it is also aging. In fact, only five of the city’s 23 community centers are in “good or fair” condition.

“None of them were in excellent condition,” said Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed.

According to the mayor, the city is taking a new approach and will begin a multimillion-dollar renovation and restoration project on the buildings.

“They can’t be what they were when I was going through those community centers because my sons, like many of your sons and daughters or grandchildren, don’t do the same things that we did,” Reed said.

Additionally, he wants to make the buildings more useful.

The mayor mentioned the need for further access to technology, education, training, healthcare, and workforce development. He also said a program that helps reacclimate people back into society.

Willie Knight is the pastor of North Montgomery Baptist Church. Since COVID, he said the Newtown Community Center had been a valuable resource for large-scale events.

He described it as the “heart and soul” of the neighborhood but feels community programs have been neglected.

“This is something that we should have been had,” Knight said. “I don’t want to hear what we’d like to see. I’m more so focused on what we’ve done.”

Now, the pastor is waiting to see if progress is made.

The mayor mentioned several community centers in his state of the city address. Some of them include E.D. Nixon, Regency Park, and Houston Hill.

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