The Dickey-Givens Community Center’s new home is on the way.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the center’s new location took place at Fannie Robinson Park Jan. 15. City personnel and representatives of the community were in attendance.
Mayor Brandt Rydell welcomed everyone to the ceremony thanking several different people and organizations that helped make the day possible.
“First and foremost, the Welfare Workers Club,” said Rydell, ”who’s efforts as far back as the 1930s helped to bring the vision of the community center on the south side of Taylor to life, and the organization continues to this day. I’m so grateful for the folks associated with the Welfare Workers Club.”
Rydell also recognized Lessie Givens who was in attendance. Givens’ contributions to the community were honored in 2016 when the center was renamed.
“I am grateful for the community for carrying on the legacy,” she said.
The center is located in Taylor’s District 1. Gerald Anderson, who represents the district on the City Council, spoke about the importance of the center as a city landmark.
“When a community comes together in a place like this community center, they have an opportunity to talk to one another and to catch up on news about family, friends and their life in general” said Anderson. “When a community comes together, they learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and find ways to celebrate their accomplishments. This community center will be a vital center for the community in District 1 and in the city of Taylor at large.”
Anderson and Rydell commended former mayor Don Hill and his wife, Leslie Hill, for being an instrumental force in this project.
“I remember that council meeting where we talked about community development block grant, and we were talking about streets, streets, streets,” recounted Rydell, “and (Hill) said ‘Streets are important, but so is community, and we need to do something about that community center,’ and I remember that meeting distinctly.”
As for the former building, Leslie Hill shared fond memories and thoughts on its future, including maybe turning the place into a museum.
“That place up there was the place I went as a teenager. Ms. Givens was the one that made sure we did what we were suppose to do up there: stay on the inside, not go on the outside,” said Leslie Hill. “I feel good about what’s getting ready to happen, and if we can get the city council and city management to work with us, maybe we can keep that building right up there on that corner. It didn’t bother us from 1959 to 2020. It won’t bother us.”
Jacob Walker from HDR Engineering said at the ceremony he expects the new Dickey-Givens Community Center project to finish mid-summer.