Community center dreams are unbroken

Published 1:30 am Saturday, September 28, 2013

Just a few weeks ago, the hallways at the John L. Fisher Community Center were strewn with broken glass, smashed computer parts and the sooty contents of old toner cartridges.

But after many hours of volunteer cleanup and the installation of new security cameras, repairs from the vandalism are under way — and the community center will host a fundraiser today, a cooking contest, blues concert and 5K and fun run.

“Everything raised goes to the Fisher Center,” said Connie Baggett, director of program management for the City of Brewton.

“We’re hoping it will be a great event.”

Admission to the event, which begins at 10 a.m., is free, as is the fun run. Registration for the 5K is $25 and includes a T-shirt.

The cooking contest will have six categories — barbecue, vegetables, cornbread, fried chicken, seafood and desserts — and $15 tickets will allow for tastings and votes for tasters’ favorites.

The event will also have inflatables for children.

“It’s shaping up to be a fun day,” Baggett said. “It’s a good first-time event, and we can use it to build toward bigger events.”

There are big plans in the works for the Fisher Center. Several years ago, the city set aside $100,000 from the sale of the property for the new middle school to go toward the community center. Some of that money has been used for repairs, and the city is also applying for grants to help pay for new features at the center — such as playground equipment, a splashpad and perhaps a walking trail.

“This neighborhood does not have a lot of outdoor activities for children,” Baggett said. “We’ve got some fantastic ideas for a playground and splashpad.”

The community center committee is hopeful that classroom space at the facility can be leased to agencies or even businesses to help raise revenue, as well.

“This can be a hub for community activities,” Baggett said. “We’re looking forward to working with people who are as passionate about this facility’s potential as the community is.”