DeSoto Seniors Angry at Arena Proposal
(Southaven, MS) Greenbrook neighborhood activist Barbara Cleveland has been pressuring Southaven Aldermen for a new senior citizens center, and nearly blew her top when she heard board member Ricky Jobes’ suggestion at a special meeting Tuesday, ”People I talked to say why don’t we use the arena? My question to you is, we have the tables, we have a kitchen we have room with a big floor, it’ll hold 2-300 people.”
Jobes says he and his constituents think senior citizens could move into the Southaven Arena, and save money.
Cleveland says that’s a cruel joke, ”I think it’s a dirty old horse barn, and I think it would belittle the seniors to have to go to something like that. We deserve better.”
The arena was originally built for equestrian events, but houses lots of other things like a twice-a-month flea market, rodeo’s and several city events.
Alderman explain they’re not trying to completely dodge a new senior citizen center, they just want to make sure the city makes the best use of its space.
”We’re tying to see if there’s something we obviously have in the city that belongs to the city that we can take advantage of to give them what they need, at least temporarily,” said Alderman Ronnie Hale.
But that’s easier said, than done.
What’s the problem with using the arena?
For one, the Park’s Director says this is the most in-demand building the city owns, and putting seniors in here, even temporarily would result in a lot of schedule juggling.
That’s because it can take days to set up and clean up after Arena events. Aldermen talked about using the city’s tennis center too, but it presents similar problems.
”I don’t like it. What have they got against seniors,” Cleveland asked.
Aldermen say say their “penny for parks” tax money can be better spent on existing improvements.
”There’s not a single Alderman that said they don’t want the center. We just disagree on how we’re gonna fund it,” Hale responded.
And he says that’s a long-term discussion.