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Group seeks BMS for community center

A community center could serve a variety of needs for Brewton, advocates of using the old Brewton Middle School for the center told Brewton city council members Tuesday.

The group, working in conjunction with the Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County, asked council members to consider turning the building into a community center once it is vacated for the new middle school next year.

“We want to make it into a community center,” said Alline Manuel, the leader of a committee working on the project. “We’re pleading with you to please approve this so we can make it a reality.”

Manuel said the community center could host after-school activities, community meetings and other programs. Students could be supervised by senior citizen volunteers, she said.

Dr. Marsha Raulerson told council members the building would be an ideal place to help continue a community-wide effort toward healthier living.

“We’re not asking you for a decision today,” she said. “But please allow us to seek funding for the different things that can be done.”

When the city sold property for the new middle school on U.S. 31 and Old Castleberry Road, it set aside $100,000 of the proceeds for the possibility of a community center at the old middle school.

The new middle school is expected to be occupied in time for the 2011-2012 school year.

Mayor Ted Jennings said the city supports the community center project but must take certain steps before committing the building to the center.

“We support everything you are doing. But there are certain legal requirements that have to be met,” he said. “We have fiduciary requirements, legal requirements.”

Councilman Joe Watson asked if the city could set up a city government committee to study what needs to be done, but Jennings said he preferred to work with the community committee already working on the project.