At the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Jackson, recent renovations are nearing completion. Leaders say, things are only going to get better.
“The King Center’s been here since 1967, so to see the renovations happening right now is very very powerful,” said Chief Equity Officer for the City of Jackson, John Willis.
Willis helped run the King Center for decades, it’s where he mentored generations of young adults, including his own. He says to better serve the community these changes were necessary.
“Some needed improvements first of all there are a lot of structural things that needed to happen.
They’ve covered all of those structural things, and then there are some improvements that the community will be really glad to see,” said Willis.
The city says a lot of the improvements will be a surprise, but the community can expect an upgraded kitchen to help serve the hundreds of kids who rely on this space every day. There will also be upgraded spaces including a new weight room.
Willis says, seeing the work being done will help this place be a beacon of hope in a time when so many are struggling during the pandemic.
“It’s a beacon for our community. It’s something where we can come. We can host all types of events; a lot of different community organizations hold events here. They come in to bring their resources, and things here and for the community. It’s a place for people to recreate whether you are five years old, whether you’re 80 years old,” said Willis.
Although Willis will no longer work at the center, he’s still helping people, but just in a new capacity. He says this place will always be home for him.
“I’ll never stop coming here. We’ll never stop doing all we can to help. This is home. This is my community.”
City officials say they hope to open the center in November.